FBI Director 'Not Trying to Set Precedent' With iPhone Unlock Demand

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    FBI Director James Comey has written an editorial to respond to concerns that the agency's demands of Apple in the ongoing San Bernardino shooter case undermine privacy rights and threaten future security efforts.

    "The San Bernardino litigation isn't about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message," Comey said in an op-ed piece that appeared on the Lawfare blog late Sunday. "It is about the victims and justice. Fourteen people were slaughtered and many more had their lives and bodies ruined. We owe them a thorough and professional investigation under law."

    The editorial comes after Apple CEO Tim Cook vehemently opposed the FBI's demand that the company helps break into the iPhone of one of the shooters, claiming that the order undermined decades of security advancements designed to protect customers. "Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices," Cook wrote in a letter last week.

    Comey rejects that claim in the article and states that "the particular legal issue is actually quite narrow. The relief we seek is limited and its value increasingly obsolete because the technology continues to evolve."
    Tellingly however, Comey goes on to say that the case highlights how such "awesome new technology" creates "serious tension" between security and privacy, which should be resolved by the public at large:
    The editorial follows confirmation by the FBI that it worked with San Bernardino County government officials to reset the iCloud account password on an iPhone belonging to suspected terrorist Syed Farook, and is the latest development in the ongoing dispute between Apple and the FBI that dominated technology headlines last week.

    Google, Facebook, and Twitter publicly backed Apple's stance on the issue, and some campaigners rallied to support the company, while U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and some San Bernardino victims have sided with the FBI. Apple has until February 26 to file its first legal arguments against the court order.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues 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: FBI Director 'Not Trying to Set Precedent' With iPhone Unlock Demand
  2. jsmith189 macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2014
    "We don't want to break anyone's encryption or set a master key loose on the land."

    well unfortunately, to "have that chance", that's essentially what you're going to be doing, James.
  3. hybroid macrumors regular


    Aug 12, 2010
    We've watched enough movies to know this is PR BS.
  4. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    If the FBI gets there way they will install spy ware on everybody's devices.
  5. Mums Suspended


    Oct 4, 2011
  6. Chatter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2013
    Uphill from Downtown
    I understand his spin but by definition, doing it once is setting a precedent right?
  7. KnighsTalker macrumors regular


    Dec 23, 2009
    In the Web
  8. thasan macrumors 65816

    Oct 19, 2007
    what a load of BS. He is trying to put a human face to the "federal bureau of incompetence".
    public to decide? sure. how many people have actually protested infront of apple stores and requested them to create a backdoor in their phone? :))
  9. inkswamp macrumors 68030


    Jan 26, 2003
    "It is about the victims and justice."

    If I hear this line of reasoning again, I'm going to @#$%& scream.

    I don't doubt that Comey has the victims in mind when he makes this case, but the bottom line is that you CANNOT trample basic rights and privacy to achieve that end. Comey needs to do his job with the tools he has (You know, as an IT professional, having special versions of iOS and OS X would make my job easier too but I somehow manage to get by.) Crimes and terrorism were successfully investigated and stopped before iOS ever existed. Hacking iOS isn't some magic key to world peace. We don't need to crack a terrorist's phone to keep people safe.
  10. garylapointe macrumors 65816


    Feb 19, 2006
    Dearborn (Detroit), MI, USA
    And installing a new iOS on the iPhone (without a passcode) is going to erase it! (Right?)

    Which makes all other parts of the argument irrelevant...

  11. burgman macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2013
    Based on his hours of testimony in Congressional hearings, the statements by the New York DA about this case, he is not being truthful in his presentation in this spin article.
  12. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    Just to play devils advocate. The other precedent is, "Global corporation decides they are above the law, snubs FBI request” ?
  13. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2013
    Litovel, Czech Republic
    Nice try, FBI. They should know by now it's not happening and move on.
  14. bbeagle macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    I've thought about that too - but as I understand it, you can put your phone into DFU mode (Device Firmware Upgrade mode), connect your phone to iTunes, and without a passcode, you can update your operating system.

    The only firmware allowed to update the phone in this mode is Apple-signed code. So, yes, I think Apple can do this. This is sort of Apple's backdoor that exists already.

    Apple doesn't want to create this version of the OS, because Apple can't just destroy it, it will be needed every other day when the FBI wants to unlock yet another phone. So, this OS will have to be kept somewhere within Apple. This opens it up to the possibility of an employee leaking this OS out somewhere defeating all of Apple's security. Additionally, the employees who create this could simply re-create it out in the wild when they leave Apple, as they know how to do it.
  15. sshambles macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2005
    No. It's "FBI f***s up and expects global corporation to help fix mistake, thus invading the rights and security of millions of their users".
  16. dragje macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2012
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    I agree!
  17. MacGizmo macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2003
    Mark my words, because this is absolute bookable certainty:

    IF Apple ends up being forced to create a backdoor in iOS, it WILL get into the wild, and FBI Director Comey's phone will be the first device hacked by some teenager in Sweeden, who will publicly out the fact that Director Comey has numerous photos of naked little children that are stored on his phone, and a rather interesting browser history.

    Then the FBI and (likely) the entire Republican party will be screaming for privacy and more security from Apple, Google, and other tech companies.
  18. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
  19. hiddenmarkov macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2014
    I believe him (maybe)....He may not see this as precedent. Its not hot him that is the problem. Its the DA's in NY, LA, Philly, run on down the 50 states and pick some cities. Its FBI some other region. In time its the divorce attorneys seeing an iron clad prenup that they just can't see a good workaround for hoping on the hail mary a phone unlock will show some infidelity to shred that prenup.

    This is how it happens. Goes in a law book...and its fair game. this is what you pay lawyers for. Give edge, they will use. Say $400 an hour, I'd prefer not pay for a loss.

    And with the current stuff surrounding the supreme court at the time (not even touching the tin foil stuff....talking the politics of blocking obama from appointing to get that up to full staff to do its thing properly) we could be looking at a train being run on this till next summer. New year turnover, selection, hearings, bipartisan muscle flexing as new president is in new sheriff in town mode....and congress is there to say whoah there, we got our tricks too.

    My concern among others is not when this is used for the good. its when its used for the bad. I have no issues with good cops doing the right thing. Too many powers loosely interpreted however are used by too many bad cops. This the slippery slope I and many fear.

    Power to pull a car over to tell the driver a tail light is out. Me a nice white bred in a white bred neighborhood...it was actually used for this. Your lights out, just a friendly warning to have it fixed, have a nice day.

    have also seen this abused....used to drop a friend off after work long ago sometimes. Lived as the saying goes in the hood. Lost count the number of times I was pulled over for a "broken taillight" that became several minutes of questioning, flashlights searching my car best they could from the outside. White bred with jersey plates in north philly late at night ....has to be looking for some drugs, a streetwalker or both for a hell of a party, right? What the are odds I just happened to work a well paying factory job in NE philly and helping a friend out once in while. This case...pretty damn good, doh.

    Punchline was I get home, test my taillights with someone I trust and what do you know...no bad tail lights.
  20. MacHiavelli macrumors 65816


    May 17, 2007
    new york
    If extracting information from people causes physical or mental suffering, it is torture ... irrespective of how it is carried out.

    Fundamentally, the FBI can neither cause physical or mental suffering to suspects or people such as Tim who hold the keys to suspects' information.

    If the US courts force anyone to give up info, they are infringing basic human rights.

    Not in my name.
  21. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    Dress it up which ever way you like sport, if they have had a legal and official demand from a judge and decided not to comply……

    You know what. If I chose not to pay my council tax and the powers that be handed down an order that I defied, (whatever the reason means to me), I’d be taken to the cleaners.
  22. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Nice try, Mr. Comey. Nothing more than the FBI's "marketing strategy".
  23. Dreamer2go macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    Yeah sure, Comey. You may have such "good intentions", but there will be tons of repercussions afterwards, including your phone being spied upon by hackers in... let's say... CHINA!
  24. TonyC28 macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2009
    At this point, if Apple were to allow the FBI to come to the office in Cuppertino, install some special version of iOS on to this one particular iPhone, get the information off, and then destroy that iOS...I'd still feel pretty darn good about my privacy. If the precedent that gets set is that it takes a court order and a lengthy public debate to get into an iPhone then that might not be the worst thing in the world. I don't trust the FBI, but I do trust Apple. I think there has to be a reasonable compromise here. Just knowing that all of this is what it takes to get past my passcode makes me feel warm and fuzzy about the security of the hundreds of pictures I've taken of my dog and the text messages between me and my wife.
    Orrrrrr, maybe I'm being naive and I need to be more concerned about how slippery the slope can get.

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