Facebook Fights US Government Demand to Break Messenger Encryption in Criminal Case

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. stylinexpat macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2009
    If Facebook steals your info it is ok but if they steal it and share it with the government then they do not approve of it. Makes you wonder. Just saw new Samsung Note 9 at T-Mobile this week. Comes preinstalled with Facebook with uninstall option removed. You can only force stop app which Facebook still has control over. Samsung Note 9 pretty much took bribery money to make sure Facebook app is preinstalled in the system with no uninstall option. Then just like Google Maps even though tracking is disabled it still tracks you. This app even though disabled still does what it wants in the background.
  2. palmerc2 macrumors 68000


    Feb 29, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Faceberg’s thoughts....

    “Government wants our customer data?

    That’s OUR data!”

    Joking aside, I’m siding with Facebook on this one. I’m rather shocked they’re sticking up for user privacy.
  3. CarlJ macrumors 68030


    Feb 23, 2004
    San Diego, CA, USA
    First off, it's "bear arms", because it's not about the right to wear short sleeves. Second, that "should be" in your middle sentence is where the trouble comes in. You could try to make a case that it should cover encryption, but I expect most judges would shoot that down as not being within the scope of the amendment, which is already hotly debated.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 18, 2018 ---
    That's fairly awful, if true. And people wonder why I'd rather buy my smartphone from a company that charges a lot upfront (and then views me as a valuable customer rather than a valuable commodity).
  4. cast128 macrumors regular


    Jul 24, 2003
    Here we go again... I do like to think (optimistically at least) that when encryption issues such as this come up in the news, the general public gains a better understanding of what encryption is and how it works. While it may not be explained perfectly by the media, I’ll take whatever I can get...(but I try to be an optimist). ;)
  5. canadianreader macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2014
    Very possible. I mean who trusts Facebook with their privacy anyways. This is like a fight between the fox and the henhouse owner on who’s gonna eat the chickens first.
  6. Kaibelf Suspended


    Apr 29, 2009
    Silicon Valley, CA
    I have to say, nothing boosts my confidence more than the thought of breaking privacy encryption to hand access to the same people who took this country to war (twice) for vast weapons of mass destruction that never existed, costing hundreds of thousands of lives. “But but.... MS13! Scary brown people!” Ugh. I look forward to law enforcement first giving open access to the public for body cam footage, assuming they actually make sure to turn them on.
  7. ovo6 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 10, 2015
    Well Alex Jones called it but he the crazy one
  8. 4jasontv macrumors 68000

    Jul 31, 2011
    I think Philip Zimmermann and Daniel J. Bernstein's experiences provide sufficient evidence to show that the federal government disagrees with you. The former was arrested for transporting cryptography classified as a weapon into and out of the USA while the later was prohibited from discussing an algorithm he developed until he registered with the government as an arms dealer and his product was reviewed and approved by said authority. The only reason a judge hasn't ruled that it is protected is because any case that gets close to trial is dropped. Zimmermann's case was dropped before the trial began. Bernstein's case was thrown out on the grounds that his work was protected by the first amendment. I don't expect you to read this*, but you should.

    * The Second Amendment and the Struggle Over Cryptography by Eric Rice
  9. CarlJ macrumors 68030


    Feb 23, 2004
    San Diego, CA, USA
    In both the Zimmermann and Bernstein cases the government claimed that encryption was a dangerous munition, akin to a bomb, not akin to small arms. The second amendment doesn't generally apply to bombs. Again, extending its reach from small arms to encryption software seems highly doubtful as something you could actually get through the court system. I wasn't saying you couldn't make the argument, I was saying you would't have much luck getting a judge to accept it.

    FWIW, I watched Zimmerman's case quite avidly at the time, still have a few of the machine-readable PGP munition t-shirts squirreled away somewhere (and I'd forgotten Bernstein's name, but am familiar with his software and his cr.yp.to website).

    The link results in this (as an error page on the UC Hastings site):

    ERROR: This is an invalid URL. Please reenter the URL, or if you clicked a link in an email message to get here, make sure the link was not split across two lines.​

    Probably not what you'd intended. As I said, I paid a lot of attention to the case at the time.
  10. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    I did as well, and your memory is not wrong. They tried to deem it as munitions, and to be precise, they were trying to catch Zimmerman because of the export of such munitions, not that it was in effect a munition in itself. The code for PGP made it outside the US, and the government at the time tried to tie that code making it out of the US to the author of the code, which would not be his fault.

    The good point to note in Zimmerman's case, is that the government finally realized that no matter how much grandstanding they were trying to do, they were not going to win the case, and eventually dropped it.

  11. jeremiah256 macrumors 65816


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California
    Plus, the government has proven it can’t protect its own. How many times has the VA lost data on vets? The last OPM breach was so deep, the hackers got data on all vets and federal employees (which I believe includes members of the FBI), past and present, to include info on their relatives, friends, employers, where all the above have lived and/or worked, and more.
  12. nt5672 macrumors 68000

    Jun 30, 2007
    It seems to me that Facebook has a reputation that it will sell just about everything it knows about someone, so I wonder here if the issue is just a matter of money. I am sure that Facebook has an API for this, probably private, but available none-the-less.
  13. 2010mini macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2013
    Problem is.... this cannot be a case by case basis. Once the encryption is broken for one, it is broken for all.
  14. Ghost31 macrumors 68030


    Jun 9, 2015
    I mean it’s a good thing and all but my first thought is that this is purely for PR so Facebook can look good
  15. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    Not necessarily. It also depends on the encryption method used, ciphers used, bit block count... a lot of factors come into play to not make it as cut and dry as people think.

  16. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but shouldn’t it be easy for Facebook to decrypt the message?

    They’re already decrypting it so you can view the same history across devices... can’t they do the same decryption on their server instead?
  17. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    Not really. If it is a one-way encryption, meaning that the key/ciphers used during the stream of the message are destroyed, then no. there wouldn't be a way for them to just decrypt it. That also goes true if they use random ciphers, keys, and blocks for each individual transmission. This sounds more like what they would be doing, as if it is randomized, they can't decrypt everything, leaving them to not be the single point of failure.

  18. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States
    I can only assume you are implying the Central Intelligence Agency does not have the capability to access this information.

    You seem to underestimate the technical abilities of NSA/CSS, and CIA. They are the premier agencies in the world in terms of technological abilities and funding. I have little doubt these agencies can and have accessed the information the DoJ is requesting. Yes, the encryption does make it, let’s say “frustrating” to access this information, and as the cat and mouse games continue, there may be a point in time where NSA/CSS and others may find it cumbersome to access this information in a timely manner if measures advanced enough are suddenly implemented in iOS or messaging applications, but the US Government, IMO, is only attempting to prevent this scenario from ever occurring before it actually does by using a “hot-bed” case in current events, such as the ongoing battle with MS-13.

    In the not-to-distant past, “child pornography” was the reason cited for requesting such access, and in every case it is something that strikes a nerve the general public as such so if it was opposed by even an individual, that person would be subject to ridicule.

    They are only using this IMO to establish, as the article states, precedent, as they have attempted for a while, to pave the road in allowing future requests to go uncontested and in the end undermine privacy at same time.

    Who can blame them when they are perusing a goal to “collect it all” and their mission is having the ability to do just that?

    I am not saying I agree with it, but I think it is pretty clear what is happening here.
  19. Zxxv macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2011
    but you can force someone to bake a cake...
  20. thekeyring, Aug 19, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018

    thekeyring macrumors 68040

    Jan 5, 2012
    I find it inconsistent that a government who worries “making guns illegal will mean only bad guys have guns” doesn’t see the same argument applies to encryption.

    Update, as someone pointed out the sentence structure was poor:

    People who believe that banning guns will mean only criminals have guns, who then go on to suggest banning encryption, are being inconsistent in their beliefs, in my opinion. There seems to be a parallel there that has been missed.

    I'm not trying to be sensationalist, I'm just pointing out the connection, at a very high level.
  21. Kabeyun macrumors 68020


    Mar 27, 2004
    Eastern USA
    Overheard on InfoWars.
  22. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    The last 10 years have been so interesting to watch as we all use devices for such sensitive and private activities. Myself included.

    If the government gain the ability to control and see all that at will... It's strange to see those old Orwellian books coming to life slowly.
  23. Mac-lover3 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 2, 2014
    Well yes as a user you know that Facebook collects everything it can it’s how they make most of their money. Governments have no business in that. Again people chose to buy that particular phone, you could still root it no?
  24. borgqueenx macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    What a winning situation for facebook. Just for the costs of a few advocates, they show the world that they care for privacy! ....not that they actually do, ofcource...
  25. 827538 macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
    I’m surprised Facebook didn’t just roll over and do as it was told.

    Still do not trust Facebook to do the right thing. Glad I deleted that crap earlier this year, along with Twitter and Snapchat.

    Simple reason I trust Apple - they don’t make money from my data - so it’s in their corporate interest to protect it.

    I just hope a real competitor to YouTube comes along so I can get rid of my Google account.

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