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  #151  
Old 09-29-2014, 02:21 PM
Ravenman is offline
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double post

Last edited by Ravenman; 09-29-2014 at 02:25 PM.
  #152  
Old 09-29-2014, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Steophan View Post
This technology mainly exists to thwart law enforcement, and it's foolish to pretend otherwise.
Are so many of Apple's customers criminals? I had no idea.

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The question to me is whether that is an acceptable use of technology, and that applies regardless of whether the authorities have acted wrongly. Two wrongs don't make a right.
Wait, if the authorities have acted wrongly, where is the "second" wrong? How could it possibly be wrong to thwart their wrongful action?

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Originally Posted by MEBuckner View Post
This isn't just about protection from overweening government agents. A bunch of famous people have just had some of their private pictures leaked all over the Internet. If The Company (whichever company it is) has a "backdoor" to my data, that is not only something that can be used by the government (either legitimately, acting upon a warrant issued upon probable cause and particularly describing the object of the search...or maybe not so legitimately), it is also potentially something that some busy little hacker could find out about and exploit.

If there's been a rash of home invasion robberies in my neighborhood, I have a right to install stronger doors and put burglar bars on my windows. That this might also inconvenience some hypothetical SWAT team is just too darned bad.
Right. And if, also...rogue SWAT teams...had been known to "act wrongly" upon private residences on occasion, you might see inconveniencing a hypothetical SWAT team as a kind of bonus--even being law-abiding yourself.
  #153  
Old 09-29-2014, 02:25 PM
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People like you who wish to see it undermined are asking for nothing less than the destruction of our way of life.
Has not Apple become an extremely successful company under the previous encryption scheme? Did the sales of the iPhone 6 not skyrocket even before this feature was made known?

If backdoors were such an uncompromising, toxic threat to the success of these business -- and our "way of life" as you put it -- why has Apple been so phenomenally successful in business that they currently have more cash in the bank than the United States Treasury?

Not to mention that Google, Yahoo, and many other companies are known to have complied with completely legal court orders to produce information on numerous investigations. If the mere knowledge of a backdoor was as cataclysmic as you make it out to be... well, where is the economic chaos? I believe you sincerely believe what you wrote, but you simply must be living in a different world if you acknowledge that Silicon Valley has been getting along just fine in cooperating with police for a very long time.
  #154  
Old 09-29-2014, 02:44 PM
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Are so many of Apple's customers criminals? I had no idea.
No. Which is why it's so absurd that it's thought necessary to automatically encrypt their data. This isn't just basic level privacy, this is like having Fort Knox as your front door.

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Wait, if the authorities have acted wrongly, where is the "second" wrong? How could it possibly be wrong to thwart their wrongful action?
The second wrong is making it harder for the police to do their job. There's no justification for making it harder for police to get information when they have a warrant.

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Right. And if, also...rogue SWAT teams...had been known to "act wrongly" upon private residences on occasion, you might see inconveniencing a hypothetical SWAT team as a kind of bonus--even being law-abiding yourself.
If they didn't have a warrant, they couldn't use anything they found to harm me. The difference between this and searching my home is that, in the SWAT team case, they could cause massive damage. In the phone case, at absolute worst I've lost some data that (if important) I've got backed up elsewhere. There should be far more restrictions on physical searches than electronic.

This argument isn't about whether it's acceptable to encrypt information for the sake of privacy, because of course it is. The issue is when that prevents the police doing their job. I really don't know why so many people here want to prevent them from doing that.
  #155  
Old 09-29-2014, 02:44 PM
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The question that matters is, should technology be sold that, by default, acts in a manner that is solely designed to hide things from searches even when those searches are legitimate?
Is that really the question, whether the products act that way by default?

I have encrypted volumes on my PC and external hard drives. This data is protected by strong encryption, that as far as I'm aware, no one can access without my password. This is all commercial hardware and free software that's widely available.

So there's nothing new about consumer-level unbreakable encryption. Is the fact that the phones use it by default that is the difference here?


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I guess when you froth at the mouth about this issue, you're expressing solidarity with your intellectual soulmate.
When talking about Santorum, please don't use "froth" anywhere near the word "mouth."
  #156  
Old 09-29-2014, 02:56 PM
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Is that really the question, whether the products act that way by default?

I have encrypted volumes on my PC and external hard drives. This data is protected by strong encryption, that as far as I'm aware, no one can access without my password. This is all commercial hardware and free software that's widely available.

So there's nothing new about consumer-level unbreakable encryption. Is the fact that the phones use it by default that is the difference here?
As you rightly say, anyone can encrypt stuff if they choose, and the government can't really do anything about that. It can do something about products being sold that way by default, and as such not give a helping hand to criminals too stupid or ignorant to know what to hide.
  #157  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:00 PM
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Smapti is on no one's side, because no one is on Smapti's side.
The truth is on my side.
  #158  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:01 PM
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If the mere knowledge of a backdoor was as cataclysmic as you make it out to be... well, where is the economic chaos? I believe you sincerely believe what you wrote, but you simply must be living in a different world if you acknowledge that Silicon Valley has been getting along just fine in cooperating with police for a very long time.
"Destruction of our very way of life" is a somewhat histrionic exaggeration, but I was responding to Smapti. Take that as you will.


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The second wrong is making it harder for the police to do their job. There's no justification for making it harder for police to get information when they have a warrant.
The key words being "when they have a warrant." They do not currently have a warrant for every single cell phone in the country, therefore the interest of any police agencies in their contents and the accessibility thereof are strictly not at issue. It is literally none of their business until they have a warrant, and there is no conceivable, legitimate way under the United States Constitution for them to compel any private entity, whether a single citizen or a corporation,

So, frankly, I don't see what this discussion is even about. Some bureaucrat is whinging about something that is none of his business. Let him whinge, and fire him if he doesn't start focusing on his damn job.


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This argument isn't about whether it's acceptable to encrypt information for the sake of privacy, because of course it is. The issue is when that prevents the police doing their job. I really don't know why so many people here want to prevent them from doing that.
The first implies the second. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments have no other purpose than to make it hard for the police to do their job. It's at the core of their meaning. You cannot eat your cake and have it, too.


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Originally Posted by Steophan View Post
As you rightly say, anyone can encrypt stuff if they choose, and the government can't really do anything about that. It can do something about products being sold that way by default, and as such not give a helping hand to criminals too stupid or ignorant to know what to hide.
It most certainly cannot. Apple, Google, et al. are fully within their rights to sell their phones in the configuration their customers want, and that includes shipping them with functioning security settings.
  #159  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:01 PM
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Has not Apple become an extremely successful company under the previous encryption scheme?
As well you know, many of these problems weren't public knowledge until about a year ago. Yes, the iPhone 6 has sold well anyway. But businesses are always looking for new ways to respond to consumers, and I think you'd have to agree that consumers are interested in things like this. After all Apple has dealt with privacy and security scandals twice in the last couple of months.
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Not to mention that Google, Yahoo, and many other companies are known to have complied with completely legal court orders to produce information on numerous investigations.
They're cooperated under duress in some cases and they don't seem happy with the current state of affairs. Apple refused to respond to these sorts of requests for years.
  #160  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:21 PM
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They're cooperated under duress in some cases and they don't seem happy with the current state of affairs.
I do not suspect that many people are happy about being the subject of court orders, as a general matter, so I don't take the measure of justice to be the degree of joyfulness in fulfilling one's responsibilities. For example, if I'm ever brought up on charges of my wit being an actual deadly weapon, I'll simply be grateful that 12 jurors are hearing the case, and not be too concerned with complying with their wishes that they be excused to go do something else.
  #161  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:29 PM
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I know this is mostly meant as a throwaway clever comment, but it also exposes your lack of understanding of the issue. One key reason why so much military equipment has ended up in the hands of local law enforcement is that it is either free or at a very low cost, either from DoD surplus or from grants issued by DOJ or DHS. So if you think that some police department paid $1 million for an MRAP and they could have used that money more wisely, you're missing the fundamental point that they did not pay $1 million for the MRAP.
Now, I wasn't literally talking about the precise things that Jimmy did in the TV show, but you make valid points. The main intent of my post is that using specialized methods to overcome encryption on devices by planting various tools is just simply beyond the reach of most police departments. (Steve MB got my point in the post before yours.)

You make totally fair points that quite a bit of data may be available in other ways. However, I don't think you, me, or anyone else here is actually qualified to make broad statements about what sort of information the police need, or do not need, to make a case against a particular criminal or suspect. Sure, if someone takes a photo of their crime and it is synced to iCloud and the GPS tagging is on, that's helpful to the police. But, what if someone knows a meager amount about technology yet knows to turn GPS tagging off and does not sync to iCloud? So that photo of the crime (or the calendar information of "Be at major drug deal at 2:30pm at the Bay City Warehouse, etc) only exists on the phone in an encrypted format? You seem to be arguing that if police couldn't get that specific information, then they should just simply make their case elsewhere. I don't think it's fair to police to have probable cause, a judge's sign-off, but no technical means to execute the warrant for potentially very valuable information (at least in this context).

It seems to me that such evidence would be extremely valuable, and quite likely beyond the reach of law enforcement due to both the encryption scheme used and the application of the Fifth Amendment (in which someone quite possibly -- but not certainly -- might not be compelled to give up passwords, combinations, or that sort of testimonial information).
That evidence would be valuable, but stopping criminals or nation states from looking on people's phones without permission is also valuable. I'm particularly worried about countries other than the USA and criminals though I also don't want the USA snooping without a warrant. Your example is also pretty weak. I don't understand how they happen on his phone and look at his calendar without having him in custody already or at least knowing you looked.

I think encryption keys and the Fifth are all over the place to date and there is no consensus, but I could be wrong.

If authorities have the person in custody, they can at least try to have the court force the defendant to give up the password in at least some cases, though again I'm not sure about case law. If they don't have access to the suspect, they won't have access to the suspect's physical phone anyway so encryption of data at rest is moot.

I would be interested in actual cases where encryption would have hurt the prosecution. I have to admit even if an example is found, I'd still think it was an exception and doubt it will change my opinion.

The cat is out of the bag as far as encryption unless you want to make it illegal. I can't even fathom that the government suddenly thinks this is a debate again after the crypto wars of the 1990s. Look up the clipper chip fiasco.

It is bad for privacy, information security, democracy, and the US economy to try and ban or weaken encryption. On top of all that, I'm skeptical how much it will actually hurt law enforcement not to have a back door.
  #162  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:34 PM
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I do not suspect that many people are happy about being the subject of court orders, as a general matter, so I don't take the measure of justice to be the degree of joyfulness in fulfilling one's responsibilities. For example, if I'm ever brought up on charges of my wit being an actual deadly weapon, I'll simply be grateful that 12 jurors are hearing the case, and not be too concerned with complying with their wishes that they be excused to go do something else.
This isn't about people who are the subject of court orders. It's about companies being made to comply with the federal government even when the government is breaking the law or acting without the public's knowledge. The companies seem to feel that this violates the wishes of their customers and their own particular codes of ethics.
  #163  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:35 PM
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As you rightly say, anyone can encrypt stuff if they choose, and the government can't really do anything about that. It can do something about products being sold that way by default, and as such not give a helping hand to criminals too stupid or ignorant to know what to hide.
"So anyone can encrypt stuff if they choose, and the government can't really do anything about that," which means you agree with the side you're arguing against. "Anyone" includes the people that own, operate, and work at Apple, Google, and other companies.

Unless they pass a law against it, the government can't do anything about it except what they have already done for years, which is apply a lot of pressure in the background, including subverting public cryptographic algorithms and more. I'm not okay with this for many of the reasons I've already argued in this thread, but at least a law would be the right way to do it rather than all the back room dealings.
  #164  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:49 PM
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This isn't about people who are the subject of court orders. It's about companies being made to comply with the federal government even when the government is breaking the law or acting without the public's knowledge.
Let's just get this straight: this has fuck-all to do with Edward Snowden, if that's what you're saying.

This is about police, whether local or Federal, with a search warrant (pursuant to the recent Supreme Court case which so directed), being able to execute such a search. Previously, Apple or whomever could be compelled to satisfy that court order, or so I've read. That will not be possible on these newer devices. So yes, it actually is about court orders and search warrants, and has nothing to do with FISA.
  #165  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:51 PM
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Let's just get this straight: this has fuck-all to do with Edward Snowden, if that's what you're saying.
The public's distrust of governmental surveillance and its interest in greater security for electronic devices has a great deal to do with Edward Snowden.
  #166  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:54 PM
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The public's distrust of governmental surveillance and its interest in greater security for electronic devices has a great deal to do with Edward Snowden.
And it shouldn't, but that's just another symptom of the problem with for-profit journalism that has yet to be responsibly addressed.
  #167  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:00 PM
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And it shouldn't, but that's just another symptom of the problem with for-profit journalism that has yet to be responsibly addressed.
Are you going to attack liberals for supporting the First Amendment next?
  #168  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:05 PM
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Are you going to attack liberals for supporting the First Amendment next?
No. My anger with the press is directed at those who see it as at a source of revenue instead as as a conduit of the public good.
  #169  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:13 PM
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The public's distrust of governmental surveillance and its interest in greater security for electronic devices has a great deal to do with Edward Snowden.
Are we referring to the same public that supported the invasion of Iraq to go get those WMDs that were threatening every shopping mall in this country with those scary, death-spraying UAVs?

Sorry, I don't alter my views to make them coincide with the general public's level of understanding about an issue. You can't make me say that Vikings wore helmets with horns on the sides just because everyone really, really thinks that they did; and you can't make this issue into something about FISA when it really doesn't.

Unfortunately, your argument here is veering off into the non-reality based community that some Bush White House staff member talked about; where those people think that observing and studying reality is simply obsolete, and the real action is in manipulating how people think about things. Any discussion Technology + Laws does not equal OMG MASS GOVRNMENTAL SURVEILLANCE STATE!1!

I think we're actually better off if we avoid cheap and lazy debates like that, or at least try to isolate them to Fox News on the right, the Guardian on the left, and other shitty brands of journalism everywhere else in between.
  #170  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:17 PM
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I do not suspect that many people are happy about being the subject of court orders, as a general matter, so I don't take the measure of justice to be the degree of joyfulness in fulfilling one's responsibilities.
The point of the exercise is to shift the responsibility to the actual responsible party (the phone owner) and leave tangentially related third parties (Apple and Google) out of it so they can focus on the stuff for which the are actually responsible (making phones that serve their customers' needs).

Really, this is a simple concept. If the police can't find fingerprints on a baseball bat that was soaked in bleach, should they subpoena the Spaulding and Clorox companies? If the police couldn't read something because it was written in Klingon, should they subpoena Marc Okrand?
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  #171  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:19 PM
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No. My anger with the press is directed at those who see it as at a source of revenue instead as as a conduit of the public good.
Well, in this case both were served. You may rail at the invisible hand of the market because it flipped you the finger, but don't expect the rest of us to sympathize.

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Are we referring to the same public that supported the invasion of Iraq to go get those WMDs that were threatening every shopping mall in this country with those scary, death-spraying UAVs?
James B. Comey is attempting to appeal to that public with his ZOMG TERRAISTS THINKA TEH CHILDRUN!!!! rhetoric. Unfortuntely for him, that public has wised up after been burned too many times.
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Last edited by Steve MB; 09-29-2014 at 04:22 PM.
  #172  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:25 PM
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Come on -- the point of the exercise is for the tech companies to one-up each other on saying, "We are the securist!" "No, my security is a gazillion times better!" "Your phone is as secure as a wet paper bag!" I get that, and it makes sense. I'm just don't think our laws are yet able to deal with that situation, and that there will be consequences.

But get real -- you don't seriously propose the idea that Apple and Google are out of the business of dealing with what information is on a phone? You think Google is going to stop monitoring what websites you visit on your phone, or stop screening Gmail to better target advertisements? You think Apple isn't collecting traffic data while you are navigating, and probably selling your iTunes listening habits or whatnot? You call this type of activity "tangientially related?"

No, of course not. Those companies aren't getting out of the data business, and you know it. And as far as the Chlorox analogy, I think you're back to making up these scenarios that aren't even really on topic at all... and your Klingon comment has me totally baffled. Did you wander into the wrong thread right then?

Last edited by Ravenman; 09-29-2014 at 04:26 PM.
  #173  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:31 PM
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James B. Comey is attempting to appeal to that public with his ZOMG TERRAISTS THINKA TEH CHILDRUN!!!! rhetoric.
I see -- I looked at his radical, saber-rattling statement on the matter:
Quote:
"I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I also believe that no one in this country is beyond the law. What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law."
Holy shit, this guy is like Che Guevara crossed with Charles Manson on his over the top rhetoric! How did he ever get through Senate confirmation with this Rush Limbaugh-like penchant for exaggeration!?!?
  #174  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:39 PM
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No. My anger with the press is directed at those who see it as at a source of revenue instead as as a conduit of the public good.
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Are we referring to the same public that supported the invasion of Iraq to go get those WMDs that were threatening every shopping mall in this country with those scary, death-spraying UAVs?
Somehow my post triggered a staggering burst of irrelevance.
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Any discussion Technology + Laws does not equal OMG MASS GOVRNMENTAL SURVEILLANCE STATE!1!
My argument is that the recent disclosures of mass surveillance are coloring this discussion: there is more demand for security and encryption because the public recently discovered the government is spying on the public en masse. The government demonstrated it wasn't trustworthy, so now people don't trust it as much as they did. I'm not saying that those disclosures justify every possible security countermeasure, but it's foolish to pretend that's not going on. Do you think Apple would be doing this otherwise? I doubt it. Maybe I'm wrong, but it's going to take more than "this has fuck-all to do with Edward Snowden" to convince me.
  #175  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:40 PM
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But get real -- you don't seriously propose the idea that Apple and Google are out of the business of dealing with what information is on a phone? You think Google is going to stop monitoring what websites you visit on your phone, or stop screening Gmail to better target advertisements? You think Apple isn't collecting traffic data while you are navigating, and probably selling your iTunes listening habits or whatnot?
You should be ashamed of yourself for using the "she's a slut; she doesn't get to complain about being groped" argument.

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I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I also believe that no one in this country is beyond the law.
Did he say that part with a straight face? Without the aid of Botox? I'm impressed by his chutzpah, if not his rhetoric.
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  #176  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:46 PM
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You should be ashamed of yourself for using the "she's a slut; she doesn't get to complain about being groped" argument.
Uhhhh... put down the ether rag, because I have no clue what you're talking about.
  #177  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:55 PM
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Uhhhh... put down the ether rag, because I have no clue what you're talking about.
Puh-leeze. I am making an obvious and ironclad analogy between

1. You gave some of your data to Google, so don't complain about government snooping

and

2. You spread your legs for three of the guys on the swim team, so don't get so pissy about a little boob-squeeze

The two positions are self-evidently equivalent. You advocated for Position 1. Position 2 is unacceptable in polite society. QED.
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  #178  
Old 09-29-2014, 04:57 PM
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Oh, I get you -- complying with a search warrant is like sexual assault. Well, I'll just leave you to wallow in your outrage at the checks and balances of our judicial system that perpetrates intellectual rape on major American corporations, or something.

By the way, you're the one who said that Google and Apple are only "tangentially" related to data collection. And you still have no clue about the difference between "snooping" and "putting a murderer behind bars," do you?

Last edited by Ravenman; 09-29-2014 at 04:59 PM.
  #179  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:03 PM
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Oh, I get you -- complying with a search warrant is like sexual assault.
He just spelled out his analogy for you. Are you going to try to address it, or are you going to act outraged so you don't have to address it?
  #180  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:13 PM
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It's patently stupid, and offensive to boot.

I'm afraid trying to describe why a search warrant is not like sexual assault is as difficult to describe as how I am like a writing desk.

BTW, are you aware of the facts of the cases that led to the Supreme Court (correctly IMHO) ruling that search warrants are required before police can intrude on a cell phone?
  #181  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:21 PM
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I'm afraid trying to describe why a search warrant is not like sexual assault is as difficult to describe as how I am like a writing desk.
No one asked you to.
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BTW, are you aware of the facts of the cases that led to the Supreme Court (correctly IMHO) ruling that search warrants are required before police can intrude on a cell phone?
Not offhand, no. Did the case involve someone who failed to understand an analogy?
  #182  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:29 PM
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Come on -- the point of the exercise is for the tech companies to one-up each other on saying, "We are the securist!" "No, my security is a gazillion times better!" "Your phone is as secure as a wet paper bag!" I get that, and it makes sense. I'm just don't think our laws are yet able to deal with that situation, and that there will be consequences.
Our laws deal with it perfectly well. Until there's a crime under investigation and a warrant has been issued, per the Fourth Amendment it is nobody's business but mine and Google's what doo-dads and bells and whistles I want to come factory-installed on my phone. Once the phone is in my hand, it's nobody's business but mine. Speculation about "consequences" is nothing but inane fear-mongering.


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I see -- I looked at his radical, saber-rattling statement on the matter: Holy shit, this guy is like Che Guevara crossed with Charles Manson on his over the top rhetoric! How did he ever get through Senate confirmation with this Rush Limbaugh-like penchant for exaggeration!?!?
No, no need to invoke Che or Rush or Gingrich. This is no lawful-evil demagoguery. To those of us who know a thing or two about computers, his statements merely appear profoundly stupid.
  #183  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:39 PM
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Not offhand, no. Did the case involve someone who failed to understand an analogy?
One of the cases involved someone who was arrested for a minor crime, and then the police searched his phone. The Court ruled that they should have had a warrant, which I totally agreed with. But once the phone was searched, his affiliation with a gang and a murder was determined. Police testified about that evidence (a video and some other things) and the guy was convicted.

So, in the future, if the police had obtained a warrant but been unable to execute the search, would his hand in the murder have been known? From what I understand about the case, it seems quite doubtful. I think that is a very good example of why I think it is unfortunate that Apple is making these changes specifically so police would be unable to discover this important evidence.

Going back to our exchange on Snowden, I see now we were talking past each other. My point is that the use of evidence on phones like this case I just summarized has nothing at all whatsoever to do with Snowden.

But I now see that you were saying something different - that Snowden makes people more interested in these phones. That's a fair point. It reminds me of how the NRA and gun makers made a big deal about Obama being elected in order to sell more guns: it's very hard to stop a company from using fear to sell more product.
  #184  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:44 PM
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One of the cases involved someone who was arrested for a minor crime, and then the police searched his phone. The Court ruled that they should have had a warrant, which I totally agreed with. But once the phone was searched, his affiliation with a gang and a murder was determined. Police testified about that evidence (a video and some other things) and the guy was convicted.

So, in the future, if the police had obtained a warrant but been unable to execute the search, would his hand in the murder have been known? From what I understand about the case, it seems quite doubtful. I think that is a very good example of why I think it is unfortunate that Apple is making these changes specifically so police would be unable to discover this important evidence.
I think you said earlier that our laws have not totally caught up with a lot of these technological issues. I do agree with that, but I'm not sure the police have a right to find things they were not specifically looking for during a search. I think that generally speaking, if they're looking for evidence of crime A, they can only take evidence of crime B if it's in something like plain sight, and I don't object to that in principle.
Quote:
Going back to our exchange on Snowden, I see now we were talking past each other. My point is that the use of evidence on phones like this case I just summarized has nothing at all whatsoever to do with Snowden.

But I now see that you were saying something different - that Snowden makes people more interested in these phones. That's a fair point.
Yes, that's exactly what I was saying.
Quote:
It reminds me of how the NRA and gun makers made a big deal about Obama being elected in order to sell more guns: it's very hard to stop a company from using fear to sell more product.
That's true- except in this case the government has done a fair bit to justify that fear in my opinion.
  #185  
Old 09-29-2014, 05:59 PM
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No. Which is why it's so absurd that it's thought necessary to automatically encrypt their data.
It's almost as if that non-criminal majority is actually more, or firstly, thinking about protecting themselves from somebody other than police.

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The second wrong is making it harder for the police to do their job. There's no justification for making it harder for police to get information when they have a warrant.
Go back and read your own post. You acknowledge the possibility that they do not have a warrant. If that's the case, it is the state actor's action which is the only wrong. Either way, there aren't two wrongs.
  #186  
Old 09-30-2014, 10:28 AM
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I see -- I looked at his radical, saber-rattling statement on the matter:
Quote:
"I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I also believe that no one in this country is beyond the law. What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law."
Holy shit, this guy is like Che Guevara crossed with Charles Manson on his over the top rhetoric! How did he ever get through Senate confirmation with this Rush Limbaugh-like penchant for exaggeration!?!?
Do you honestly believe that the main reason for this level of encryption is to allow people to place themselves beyond the law? By his own statements the FBI director loses credibility.

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Oh, I get you -- complying with a search warrant is like sexual assault.
No. The analogy is illustrating the point that just because you voluntarily give information to one party, does not mean that you must be compelled to give information to another. Does that make it more clear?

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Going back to our exchange on Snowden, I see now we were talking past each other. My point is that the use of evidence on phones like this case I just summarized has nothing at all whatsoever to do with Snowden.

But I now see that you were saying something different - that Snowden makes people more interested in these phones. That's a fair point.
Yes - it's almost as if the FBI director acknowledged this and then hand waived it away:
Quote:
"I get that the post-Snowden world has started an understandable pendulum swing," he said. "What I'm worried about is, this is an indication to us as a country and as a people that, boy, maybe that pendulum swung too far."
  #187  
Old 09-30-2014, 10:47 AM
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Do you honestly believe that the main reason for this level of encryption is to allow people to place themselves beyond the law?
Apple is describing its services in those terms: "Our commitment to customer privacy doesn't stop because of a government information request." See for yourself in big, 36 point letters. They continue, in smaller print, "So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."

So, yes, I think it's perfectly clear that Apple's marketing strategy includes talking about how the iPhone 6 is immune from lawful searches.

Quote:
No. The analogy is illustrating the point that just because you voluntarily give information to one party, does not mean that you must be compelled to give information to another. Does that make it more clear?
No, because the whole point of a search warrant and similar court orders is that you are compelled to give information in order to further justice. It's a very basic feature of our judicial system, I'm sure you've heard of it before. You are directly asserting that there is something illegitimate about a judge authorizing a search of one's personal effects, when, in fact, the Constitution specifically provides for searches of personal property upon probable cause. The catch here is that encryption and electronic data are in this catch-22 void between physical evidence and incriminating testimony.
  #188  
Old 09-30-2014, 11:07 AM
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Again, I need to ask what's so different about Apple and Google providing this capability, when it's been widely available for years on PCs and Macs?

My PC's hard disk is protected with strong encryption, and (I believe) there is no way for anyone to get at my data unless I unlock it for them.

The PGP company has been providing whole-disk encryption for some time. Is PGP thumbing their nose at law enforcement by making software that lets users lock their data without PGP being able to get into it? I didn't hear any complaints when that came out.

The technology isn't new, the commercialization of it isn't new. Why are people getting upset that Apple and Google are using something similar?
  #189  
Old 09-30-2014, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Apple is describing its services in those terms: "Our commitment to customer privacy doesn't stop because of a government information request." See for yourself in big, 36 point letters. They continue, in smaller print, "So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."

So, yes, I think it's perfectly clear that Apple's marketing strategy includes talking about how the iPhone 6 is immune from lawful searches.
Their comment is about requests, not lawful searches. Haven't there been requests for data that have been denied by ISP and other businesses, because there was no valid warrant, or the warrant was being contested? Apple and others will continue to comply with lawful searches pursuant to a warrant. They will just be less fruitful.

I actually believe the two main reasons for this level of security is marketing, and limiting liability.

Quote:
No, because the whole point of a search warrant and similar court orders is that you are compelled to give information in order to further justice. It's a very basic feature of our judicial system, I'm sure you've heard of it before. You are directly asserting that there is something illegitimate about a judge authorizing a search of one's personal effects, when, in fact, the Constitution specifically provides for searches of personal property upon probable cause. The catch here is that encryption and electronic data are in this catch-22 void between physical evidence and incriminating testimony.
No. The point of a search warrant is that you are compelled to allow the search. You are never compelled to "give information". So go ahead, search. The government will never be able to bypass the security. Ever. And neither will any nefarious actors. Sometimes the two groups are the same.
  #190  
Old 09-30-2014, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Apple is describing its services in those terms: "Our commitment to customer privacy doesn't stop because of a government information request."...

So, yes, I think it's perfectly clear that Apple's marketing strategy includes talking about how the iPhone 6 is immune from lawful searches.
(emphasis added)

What we have here is a fallacy of false equivalence, e.g.:

Quote:
1. Nothing is better than being at peace with yourself.
2. A glass of warm beer that tastes like cat piss is better than nothing.
3. A glass of warm beer that tastes like cat piss is better than being at peace with yourself.
Obviously, Apple's marketing strategy is based on the fact that its customers (correctly) reject the notion that "a government information request" necessarily has anything to do with "lawful searches".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone View Post
Their comment is about requests, not lawful searches. Haven't there been requests for data that have been denied by ISP and other businesses, because there was no valid warrant, or the warrant was being contested? Apple and others will continue to comply with lawful searches pursuant to a warrant. They will just be less fruitful.

I actually believe the two main reasons for this level of security is marketing, and limiting liability.
There is also the technical reality -- it is simply not possible to credibly promise security if the government has any sort of backdoor access. We know about Snowden because he used the files he obtained in an act of public whistle-blowing; there is no way to tell how many others gained similar access and used it more discreetly to tap into the backdoors for various underhanded purposes.

In any case, the net result is to put teeth in the requirement that searches be lawful, by insuring that someone with an interest in challenging dubious claims (the phone owner) is in the loop. When the government could simply go to the manufacturer in secret, they had every incentive to say "yeah, sure, whatever" to even the most blatantly abusive fishing expeditions; now, that crap won't fly.
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  #191  
Old 09-30-2014, 11:46 AM
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No, because the whole point of a search warrant and similar court orders is that you are compelled to give information in order to further justice. It's a very basic feature of our judicial system, I'm sure you've heard of it before. You are directly asserting that there is something illegitimate about a judge authorizing a search of one's personal effects, when, in fact, the Constitution specifically provides for searches of personal property upon probable cause. The catch here is that encryption and electronic data are in this catch-22 void between physical evidence and incriminating testimony.
Yes, but this is essentially like complaining that paper-making companies don't make their paper impossible to chew up and swallow.

Look, there are very good, very solid reasons to want privacy on your computer. Secure algorithms with no backdoors make sense from a cybersecurity perspective, regardless of whether the secrets you're carrying would interest the police or not. Indeed, compared to paper communications, you're still better off when it comes to unbreakable encrypted data. If someone swallows a letter, it's gone. If someone encrypts the data, all you need to do is hold them in contempt of court until they spit out the password (which, to my knowledge, includes the possibility of indefinite imprisonment). If they never do, you've still probably got your perp; if they do give it to you, you've got your data.

See, this is what bothers me. If the police need data from your computer, they should need a warrant to get at it. Encrypting the data basically is a way of saying "I want this to be safe from prying eyes". The NSA using backdoors to peek on what you're doing online is like the FBI opening your letters or tapping your phone - it should never ever ever ever ever ever ever EVER happen without a warrant. Because that's how the damned law works, and needs to work in a free society. Because we value the freedom of privacy. The fact that the manufacturer cannot break the encryption on your device means that it's that much more secure from prying eyes, and as said, there's legitimate interest in that. Basically, you're objecting to marketing a lockable tungsten mailbox (which people who often have their mail stolen would probably love) on the off chance that the police will want something from it for an investigation and the owner won't give up the key.

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 09-30-2014 at 11:47 AM.
  #192  
Old 09-30-2014, 11:55 AM
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If the police need data from your computer, they should need a warrant to get at it.
No-one's said otherwise. What'e being objected to is a third party (Apple in this case) encrypting the data then not keeping a copy of the key. Hopefully they can be held in contempt when they ignore warrants for said data. Just like you or I would be if we encrypted our data.

Quote:
Basically, you're objecting to marketing a lockable tungsten mailbox (which people who often have their mail stolen would probably love) on the off chance that the police will want something from it for an investigation and the owner won't give up the key.
More or less, although it's closer to the company supplying the mailboxes following the postman around, locking the mailboxes, then destroying their copy of the keys. Which should be illegal.
  #193  
Old 09-30-2014, 11:58 AM
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Their comment is about requests, not lawful searches.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve MB View Post
(emphasis added)What we have here is a fallacy of false equivalence, e.g.: ...
Obviously, Apple's marketing strategy is based on the fact that its customers (correctly) reject the notion that "a government information request" necessarily has anything to do with "lawful searches".
Was this part of my post written in invisible ink? "So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."

Apple is specifically marketing the fact that they are not technically capable of responding to a search warrant for information on the phone. Is there a reason both of you did not quote this sentence that specifically refers to warrants?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bone
I actually believe the two main reasons for this level of security is marketing, and limiting liability.
The first I totally agree with. The second puzzles me: are you suggesting that someone may sue and win a lawsuit against Apple if they comply with a judge's warrant? It seems extraordinary to me that someone (or some company) could face civil penalties for complying with a court order. Do you have any examples of this happening?

Quote:
No. The point of a search warrant is that you are compelled to allow the search. You are never compelled to "give information". So go ahead, search.
That doesn't seem to comply with Apple's statement on the privacy page I linked to earlier. You're making it sound like if a judge orders Apple to provide something, that the police are then in charge of taking control of Apple's servers or whatnot in order to find the thing the government is looking for. As Apple itself states: "If we are legally compelled to divulge any information and it is not counterproductive to the facts of the case, we provide notice to the customer when allowed and deliver the narrowest set of information possible in response." Here, it is specifically saying that Apple provides the government the "narrowest set of information possible" in response to being compelled to do so. If Apple is determining what the minimum amount of information is needed to satisfy the warrant, then it seems clear that Apple (not the police) is actually doing the searching when it is compelled to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve MB
In any case, the net result is to put teeth in the requirement that searches be lawful, by insuring that someone with an interest in challenging dubious claims (the phone owner) is in the loop. When the government could simply go to the manufacturer in secret, they had every incentive to say "yeah, sure, whatever" to even the most blatantly abusive fishing expeditions; now, that crap won't fly.
Are you under the impression that this is how search warrants typically work? As in a prosecutor asks a judge for a warrant, and then the judge calls the subject of the warrant (or his attorney) in for a hearing on whether or not the warrant should be issued? That seems like a total fantasy-land version of police investigations.

The fact that a judge weighs the probable cause is the teeth in the requirement that the searches be lawful. Unless you're implying that the gazillions of search warrants issued every year in this country are not actually very legal at all...?
  #194  
Old 09-30-2014, 12:37 PM
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No-one's said otherwise. What'e being objected to is a third party (Apple in this case) encrypting the data then not keeping a copy of the key. Hopefully they can be held in contempt when they ignore warrants for said data. Just like you or I would be if we encrypted our data.

More or less, although it's closer to the company supplying the mailboxes following the postman around, locking the mailboxes, then destroying their copy of the keys. Which should be illegal.
I don't think you have a functioning understanding of how these things work. What you're suggesting -- a third party, like Apple, keeping a copy of customer keys -- is literally insane. Mind-bogglingly, bogo-loco bonkers nuts. There is no world in which the idea is not utterly laughable.

It's almost as silly as the idea that any of this should be illegal.
  #195  
Old 09-30-2014, 12:49 PM
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I don't think you have a functioning understanding of how these things work. What you're suggesting -- a third party, like Apple, keeping a copy of customer keys -- is literally insane. Mind-bogglingly, bogo-loco bonkers nuts. There is no world in which the idea is not utterly laughable.
Then help me understand this -- Apple seems to be accusing its competitors of doing this. Its website reads:

Quote:
On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode. Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data.
So Apple is saying that its competitors can bypass one's passcode. I'm not sure I'm reading you 100% correctly, but you seem to be saying that a company maintaining the ability to bypass a passcode is the laughably and completely insane.

I don't get it. Is Apple lying about what its competitors do? Am I misunderstanding some nuance between what Apple posted and what you're saying? Or is Apple correct, and a company keeping the ability to bypass a passcode actually not as insane as you're making it out to be?
  #196  
Old 09-30-2014, 12:55 PM
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I don't think you have a functioning understanding of how these things work. What you're suggesting -- a third party, like Apple, keeping a copy of customer keys -- is literally insane. Mind-bogglingly, bogo-loco bonkers nuts. There is no world in which the idea is not utterly laughable.

It's almost as silly as the idea that any of this should be illegal.
It's not so much mind-bogglingly insane as what has been standard practice up to now... The point is, Apple is not a third party, it is the party performing the encryption by making it the default on its devices.

You do realise this is what we're talking about, right? Not an individual choosing to encrypt their data, but a company choosing to do it for them.
  #197  
Old 09-30-2014, 12:58 PM
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Was this part of my post written in invisible ink? "So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."

Apple is specifically marketing the fact that they are not technically capable of responding to a search warrant for information on the phone. Is there a reason both of you did not quote this sentence that specifically refers to warrants?
I missed it. Or I forgot to respond to that part.

Essentially, I don't interpret their statement to say that these are beyond the law. I interpret it to mean that they will no longer have a backdoor into a customer's phone. They are not party to the warrant (or if they are, they have no ability to comply). Similar to a home builder selling you a home and not keeping a copy of the key. It's not theirs anymore so they are hands off.

Quote:
The first I totally agree with. The second puzzles me: are you suggesting that someone may sue and win a lawsuit against Apple if they comply with a judge's warrant? It seems extraordinary to me that someone (or some company) could face civil penalties for complying with a court order. Do you have any examples of this happening?
I don't have examples. This may come close, but it's not pursuant to a warrant. Consider a hypothetical. Apple's security get's compromised either by direct action or by employee malfeasance. Since Apple has the ability to access a customer's information, what if they do so surreptitiously not as an organization, but by a disgruntled employee. Would a person have grounds for a suit? I would think so. With the new security in place, that's not possible. Ergo, potential liability is reduced.

Quote:
That doesn't seem to comply with Apple's statement on the privacy page I linked to earlier. You're making it sound like if a judge orders Apple to provide something, that the police are then in charge of taking control of Apple's servers or whatnot in order to find the thing the government is looking for.
I think they could do this [take possession] but since that is more disruptive, Apple complies by furnishing the information. If it were me, there is no way in hell that I'd make it any easier for police to access my encrypted information.
  #198  
Old 09-30-2014, 01:33 PM
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Essentially, I don't interpret their statement to say that these are beyond the law. I interpret it to mean that they will no longer have a backdoor into a customer's phone.
This is one of those issues where we are clearly talking about the same thing, and yet using slanted terms to describe the exact same actions. What I call a court-authorized search warrant, some people here are insisting on calling "snooping" for some silly reason. What Comey called placing information beyond the law, you're calling closing government backdoors into phones. As long as we acknowledge we're talking about the same issues, I don't have much interest in word games.

Quote:
They are not party to the warrant (or if they are, they have no ability to comply). Similar to a home builder selling you a home and not keeping a copy of the key. It's not theirs anymore so they are hands off.
But it isn't like a home builder, because an iPhone is both personal property and a service. I know you don't like this fact, but Apple routinely collects information from iPhone use, which is totally different than handing over the deed and keys to a house. Most homebuilders don't continue coming around the house to check how much water and electricity you are using. And see my point about technical assistance at the end of this post, because Apple most certainly can be a party to the warrant.

Quote:
This may come close, but it's not pursuant to a warrant.
Well, the warrant is the whole point of my question. The idea that someone can be penalized in civil court for complying with a lawful order is just silly.
Quote:
Apple's security get's compromised either by direct action or by employee malfeasance. Since Apple has the ability to access a customer's information, what if they do so surreptitiously not as an organization, but by a disgruntled employee. Would a person have grounds for a suit? I would think so. With the new security in place, that's not possible. Ergo, potential liability is reduced.
I suppose the only remedy for that scenario is that companies should never maintain any billing information on their customers, otherwise they can be sued. For example, if a rogue employee in the billing department obtains my address and sends contraband to my house (or whatever), then it is only natural to assume that companies should eliminate their liability by refusing to keep any records of my name, my address, my credit card number, or anything else.

Oh wait -- that's a dumb idea. I think you're totally missing the point that a company can be sued for anything, just like I can sue you for what you've said about me in this thread. However, it is clear that my lawsuit against you would go nowhere, because you haven't done anything wrong. Similarly, you haven't actually identified anything that Apple is doing wrong, you're just dreaming up fanciful scenarios in which someone could file suit and ignoring that such suits have no chance of winning. That's not convincing at all.
Quote:
I think they could do this [take possession] but since that is more disruptive, Apple complies by furnishing the information. If it were me, there is no way in hell that I'd make it any easier for police to access my encrypted information.
As for the first part of the statement, are you aware that warrants may compel technical assistance to obtain the matter being sought? For example, if a court orders a wire tap on a phone line, the order actually directs the phone company to provide the technical assistance to execute that tap. They don't have an option on whether or not to comply, the technical assistance is part of the order.

Obviously, if you are served with a warrant to search your personal phone, the law appears to protect you from being compelled to offer that "technical assistance" to unlock your phone. Apple does not have the same constitutional protection to refuse to provide technical assistance, such as on court-ordered searches of older phones without the new encryption capability.
  #199  
Old 09-30-2014, 01:39 PM
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Then help me understand this -- Apple seems to be accusing its competitors of doing this. Its website reads:

So Apple is saying that its competitors can bypass one's passcode. I'm not sure I'm reading you 100% correctly, but you seem to be saying that a company maintaining the ability to bypass a passcode is the laughably and completely insane.
What I mean is that that arrangement is insane for any service that pretends to be secure. Obviously a service that makes no claims of data security can be as shady as it wants to be.

But yes, a company that can retrieve user passcodes, or bypass them by using a copy of the user's private key (or other encryption secret) is offering a dangerously insecure service. Whether we're talking about private data stored only on a user's iPhone, or data that is backed up to their iCloud storage, or wherever it is, if the data is to be encrypted, there is no reason whatsoever that Apple or any other third party ever even needs to see the user's private key. Period. Generating a keypair on a client and then sending the private key out into the world is like building a gate and omitting to build the fence.
  #200  
Old 09-30-2014, 01:44 PM
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What I mean is that that arrangement is insane for any service that pretends to be secure. Obviously a service that makes no claims of data security can be as shady as it wants to be.

But yes, a company that can retrieve user passcodes, or bypass them by using a copy of the user's private key (or other encryption secret) is offering a dangerously insecure service. Whether we're talking about private data stored only on a user's iPhone, or data that is backed up to their iCloud storage, or wherever it is, if the data is to be encrypted, there is no reason whatsoever that Apple or any other third party ever even needs to see the user's private key. Period. Generating a keypair on a client and then sending the private key out into the world is like building a gate and omitting to build the fence.
So if Apple is indeed correct that other companies maintain a way to bypass the passcode, what you are calling "a dangerously insecure service" can also be called "well-accepted practices within the industry."
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