The FBI doesn't need Apple to give it a backdoor to encryption, because it already has all the access it needs

Once again, the FBI is putting pressure on Apple to help them break into the phone of a mass shooter. And once again, Apple has been largely resistant to the effort. Which is good, because a government having control over a private company that gives them secret backdoor access into people's personal technology devices is an authoritarian wet dream waiting to happen.

It also doesn't matter anyway because — as Reuters pointed out this week — Apple already buckled under FBI pressure a few years and cancelled their plans to add end-to-end encryption to all iPhone backups in iCloud:

The company said it turned over at least some data for 90% of the requests it received [from the FBI]. It turns over data more often in response to secret U.S. intelligence court directives, which sought content from more than 18,000 accounts in the first half of 2019, the most recently reported six-month period.

But what if the FBI wants access to someone's locked iPhone, and they haven't backed it up to iCloud? They still don't need Apple's help, because — as with the San Bernardino shooting — there are plenty of third-party companies that can and will gladly solve the problem in exchange for money.

From OneZero:

Over the past three months, OneZero sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to over 50 major police departments, sheriffs, and prosecutors around the country asking for information about their use of phone-cracking technology. Hundreds of documents from these agencies reveal that law enforcement in at least 11 states spent over $4 million in the last decade on devices and software designed to get around passwords and access information stored on phones.

Read the rest

Right to Encrypt is under fire in America. Savecrypto.org is fighting for your crypto rights.

The Intercept just published an amazing article by Jim Bamford yesterday talking about how the NSA exploited a backdoor in Vodafone to spy on Greek politicians and journalists during the 2004 Olympics.

Bamford is an American author and journalist best known for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, and in particular the National Security Agency.

In a meticulous investigation, Bamford reports at the Intercept that the NSA was behind the notorious, legendary “Athens Affair”. After the 2004 Olympics, the Greek government discovered that an unknown attacker had hacked into Vodafone’s “lawful intercept” system, the phone company’s method of wiretapping voice calls. The attacker spied on phone calls of the president and other Greek politicians and journalists before the hack was found out.

Freedom of the Press Foundation director Trevor Timm wrote for the Guardian about why this is exactly why encryption backdoors are so dangerous.

What are encryption backdoors? For non-techie readers, basically these are ways the government can unencrypt your "locked" communications if they decide they want to see your private material for any secret reason.

And in related news, rumor has it the White House is nearing a decision on whether to embrace the right to encryption for American citizens, or join the FBI in calling for backdoors.

Dozens of civil liberties groups, including Freedom of the Press Foundation, launched this site and petition today that feeds into the White House petition system: savecrypto.org.

If you care about this issue, right now is the time to take action. Read the rest