Apple Calls FBI Comments on Lack of Help Unlocking Florida Shooter's iPhone an 'Excuse to Weaken Encryption'

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The United States FBI and Attorney General William Barr in January asked Apple to unlock the iPhones used in a mass shooting at a naval air station in Pensacola, Florida, a capability that Apple has said time and time again that it does not have.


Today, the FBI confirmed that it was able to access shooter Mohammed Alshamrani's device, with FBI director Christoper Wray claiming that the FBI received "effectively no help" from Apple. Attorney general William Barr said it was a "great disappointment" that Apple refused to help investigators. From Barr:

"Apple has made a business and marketing decision to design its phones in a way that only the user can unlock the contents no matter what the circumstances. In cases like this, where the user is a terrorist, or in other cases where the user is a violent criminal, a human trafficker, a child predator, Apple's decision has dangerous consequences for the public safety and the national security and is in my judgment unacceptable."

Apple issued a statement in response, which was shared by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the statement, Apple details the steps that it took to assist the FBI, providing iCloud backups, account information, and transactional information for multiple accounts just hours after the attack.
The terrorist attack on members of the US armed services at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida was a devastating and heinous act. Apple responded to the FBI's first requests for information just hours after the attack on December 6, 2019 and continued to support law enforcement during their investigation. We provided every piece of information available to us, including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts, and we let continuous and ongoing technical and investigative support to FBI offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola, and New York over the months since.
Apple went on to say that the comments made by Wray and Barr about the company's lack of help are little more than an "excuse to weaken encryption."
On this and many thousands of other cases, we continue to work around-the-clock with the FBI and other investigators who keep Americans safe and bring criminals to justice. As a proud American company, we consider supporting law enforcement's important work our responsibility. The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security.

It is because we take our responsibility to national security so seriously that we do not believe in the creation of a backdoor -- one which will make every device vulnerable to bad actors who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. There is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys, and the American people do not have to choose between weakening encryption and effective investigations.

Customers count on Apple to keep their information secure and one of the ways in which we do so is by using strong encryption across our devices and servers. We sell the same iPhone everywhere, we don't store customers' passcodes and we don't have the capacity to unlock passcode-protected devices. In data centers, we deploy strong hardware and software security protections to keep information safe and to ensure there are no backdoors into our systems. All of these practices apply equally to our operations in every country in the world.
As it has done in multiple prior disputes with U.S. law enforcement officials, Apple reiterated that there is no such thing as a backdoor designed only for the good guys. Weakening encryption in Apple devices would leave them vulnerable to attack from malicious entities, which could compromise not only customer data, but also national security.

Apple says that customers can count on the company to keep their information secure with strong encryption, letting law enforcement officials know once again that it does not plan to budge from its position.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple Calls FBI Comments on Lack of Help Unlocking Florida Shooter's iPhone an 'Excuse to Weaken Encryption'
 
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AxiomaticRubric

macrumors 6502a
Sep 24, 2010
527
543
On Mars, Praising the Omnissiah
Isn’t the NSA able to gather enough data on potential suspects through surveillance?

If so that would make any data stored on a personal device effectively redundant since they already monitor all network traffic, and they have the tools to decrypt said traffic if necessary.

Maybe these alphabet organizations need to learn how to work together.
 

Appleman3546

macrumors regular
May 13, 2019
144
183
I understand Apple’s marketing position here, but it is only a matter of time before a country goes rogue on Apple and mandates a back door or decryption. The reality of it is that this is a losing battle in the long run for Apple somewhere in the world...whether that be in the USA or China. The battle has already been lost for warrant disclosure of iCloud data after all, local data is the next obvious step for warrants
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,817
14,429
Central U.S.
Glad they're calling them out on their BS but they're walking a really fine line. If they get too brazen they will get smacked down. Unfortunately that's the way things operate nowadays. Step out of line in the US and you get a target on your back by our leaders who are doing everything they can to gain absolute power.
 

now i see it

macrumors 601
Jan 2, 2002
4,955
9,886
Because waaaay back then (why is this still news 1 year later?) the GrayKey box could easily get into an iPhone 5.
While the iPhone maker refused to break its encryption for the FBI, whose to say that behind closed doors, an Apple exec didn't say the magic word:

" I'm sorry we can't break the encryption for you, but I've got one word of advice: GrayKey."

And if that fell on deaf ears, the next word didn't: Cellebrite
 
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mwd25

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2012
216
280
Tempe
"Apple's decision has dangerous consequences for the public safety and the national security and is in my judgment unacceptable."

If only they could point to the many, many cases they have had where getting into a phone would have stopped or prevented a heinous crime. Or, if they could point to how they have been able to successfully put behind bars all the people that prey on this countries citizens. Sadly...........no such cases exist. Because its a non issue. Getting into our phones has not and will not stop any attacks by terrorists or crimes from occurring. Its kind of like having a dash cam. Its great for me as a citizen to be able to document AFTER a accident has occurred. But to argue that it will prevent an accident from happening and it will prevent all traffic violations if only the government could install them and have unfettered access to them them in everyone's car is laughable to say the least.
 

DVD9

macrumors 6502a
Feb 18, 2010
738
443
I don't know what a "gray box" is but if the FBI can gain access than Apple's statements about security are nonsense and their products can be hacked into after they are stolen.
 
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crawfish963

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2010
569
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Texas
Because waaaay back then (why is this still news 1 year later?) the GrayKey box could easily get into an iPhone 5.
While the iPhone maker refused to break its encryption for the FBI, whose to say that behind closed doors, an Apple exec didn't say the magic word:

" I'm sorry we can't break the encryption for you, but I've got one word of advice: GrayKey."

And if that fell on deaf ears, the next word didn't: Cellebrite
Cellbrite cannot get into iOS 13 devices. Not sure if the terrorist's device was iOS13 or not. I believe some iOS 12 variants were also difficult for CB at the time but I can't recall exactly. GK should have been able to do it though.
 

Stromos

macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2016
135
267
Woodstock, GA
So how did the FBI gain access to the phone and how can Apple say their phones and laptops are protected if the FBI could gain access without a backdoor?
Nothing is 100 protected especially with physical access. The idea is that its so hard that it costs time, money, and resources to circumvent which is exactly what the FBI is complaining about.
 

Rigby

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2008
5,076
4,631
San Jose, CA
Isn’t the NSA able to gather enough data on potential suspects through surveillance?
What p!sses me off the most is that they keep whining, even though the proliferation of cloud services, big data, ubiquitous corporate surveillance, and comprehensive surveillance powers granted by laws like the Patriot Act, already gives them access to more information than ever before. Just a few days ago, Congress decided that they should be able to collect citizens' web browsing and search histories without warrant and with no oversight. And yet, they keep asking for more and more. Where does it end? We're already effectively living in a surveillance state.
 

fbr$

macrumors regular
Feb 6, 2020
163
237
A friend of mine, which is a very skilled programmer, and also an Android hard fan and dislikes Apple, when he said me that he wants to send his curriculum to Google for a job, I replied to him: "Just send a blank curriculum to Google, no need for you to tell them what they already know, they already know all your life."😂
 

DVD9

macrumors 6502a
Feb 18, 2010
738
443
How come MI5 in the UK, and the German and French police agencies have never had any conflict with Apple after the dozens of terrorist incidents over the last several years? None of those terrorists used iPhones and Apple laptops? Were talking about dozens of terrorist incidents and over 100 terrorists.
 

hipnetic

macrumors 65816
Oct 5, 2010
1,158
446
We provided every piece of information available to us, including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts, and we let continuous and ongoing technical and investigative support to FBI offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola, and New York over the months since.
So they do just hand over all of the private info they have access to?
 

2010mini

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2013
4,230
3,947
Isn’t the NSA able to gather enough data on potential suspects through surveillance?

If so that would make any data stored on a personal device effectively redundant since they already monitor all network traffic, and they have the tools to decrypt said traffic if necessary.

Maybe these alphabet organizations need to learn how to work together.

the NSA focuses on data collection and intelligence gathering. They are not concerned with using that data for law enforcement. As such any evidence they uncover cannot be used in a court of law. The FBI is focused on law enforcement... Any methods used in evidence gathering will have to be shared with the defense. So if they have a "backdoor" that will have to be shared.

This is the reason apple, Google...etc cannot have "backdoors for good guys only"
 
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btbeme

macrumors regular
Jul 29, 2010
236
366
Having possession of a terrorist's iPhone and demanding that it be unlocked... Not a lot of distance between that and using the same tool to perform surveillance. Recent (underreported) events prove that our Federal agencies will go to great lengths to undermine our liberties while using their powers illegally, and lying about it.

Trust them? Not as far as I can throw them.
 

AxiomaticRubric

macrumors 6502a
Sep 24, 2010
527
543
On Mars, Praising the Omnissiah
What p!sses me off the most is that they keep whining, even though the proliferation of cloud services, big data, ubiquitous corporate surveillance, and comprehensive surveillance powers granted by laws like the Patriot Act, already gives them access to more information than ever before. Just a few days ago, Congress decided that they should be able to collect citizens' web browsing and search histories without warrant and with no oversight. And yet, they keep asking for more and more. Where does it end? We're already effectively living in a surveillance state.
That is the whole problem. It’s a slippery slope. That kind of power is very difficult to give up, as history reminds us.
 

McScooby

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2005
635
324
The Paps of Glenn Close, Scotland.
How come MI5 in the UK, and the German and French police agencies have never had any conflict with Apple after the dozens of terrorist incidents over the last several years? None of those terrorists used iPhones and Apple laptops? Were talking about dozens of terrorist incidents and over 100 terrorists.
 
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