Monday, February 22, 2016

LAW - Apple's Obstruction of Justice

"Judge's order to Apple over attacker phone encryption unlocks privacy concerns" PBS NewsHour 2/17/2016

IMO there is NO Constructional Right to allow hiding of criminal activity, especially when there is a warrant.  Privacy should not used as an issue to hide criminals and terrorists.


SUMMARY:  Since the San Bernardino attack, the FBI has been trying to read the contents of a cell phone used by attacker Syed Farook, made impossible by encryption.  Now Apple CEO Tim Cook is rejecting a federal court order to create software to unlock the device.  Gwen Ifill talks to Stewart Baker, former assistant secretary of Homeland Security, and Nate Cardozo of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  The battle over privacy vs. security is back front and center, as Apple digs in against the FBI and the courts over the issue of access to data on its phones.

December 2, 2015, that's the day Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, went on a murderous rampage in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people.  Hours later, they were, in turn, killed by police.  Ever since, the FBI has been trying to read the contents of a cell phone Farook used.

JAMES COMEY, FBI Director:  We still have one of those killers' phones that we have not been able to open.  And it's been over two months now.  We're still working on it.

GWEN IFILL:  Last week, FBI Director James Comey told a Senate hearing that the Apple iPhone's encryption has made it impossible for the agency to access its content.

Now a federal judge in California has ordered the company to create software that will do just that.  But Apple CEO Tim Cook forcefully rejected that order early yesterday, writing in a letter addressed to Apple customers: “In the wrong hands, this software, which doesn't exist today, would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone's physical possession.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest disputed that, saying the government wants access only to the single device associated with Farook.

JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:  We're not asking Apple to redesign its products or to create a new back door to its products.  This is a much more specific request that the Department of Justice has put forward.

GWEN IFILL:  Apple stepped up its protections after NSA leaker (aka traitor) Edward Snowden exposed government surveillance of phone traffic in 2013.

One feature can even erase the iPhone's contents after 10 failed attempts to unlock it.  Prosecutors say they are worried that this feature could be on the phone Farook used.  And unless Apple devises a way to unlock it, they could lose all its data.  The company now has five days to make its formal response in court.

Note that Nate Cardozo could be making a prejudicial assumption, that the FBI is asking Apple to turn over a way to access this iPhone.  That need not be the way it happens.  Apple could create the way to disable the one feature, the FBI would take the iPhone in question TO APPLE and have them do it.  The FBI would NOT get the software and Apple would not have to put the code on any iPhone.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein calls on Apple to obey court order

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