Edward Snowden hails Apple as 'pioneering' for iOS 8 security measures

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2015
Whistleblower and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden lauded Apple for enabling measures like default full-disk encryption in iOS 8, in a rare editorial published on Friday.




The piece for The New York Times noted that some progress has been made in reversing mass surveillance not just politically but technologically, through changes to devices and Internet protocols. Various governments, including the U.S., have been using weaknesses in high-tech infrastructure to spy on the public, but these are allegedly being closed.

"Basic technical safeguards such as encryption -- once considered esoteric and unnecessary -- are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private," Snowden said.

Apple has come under fire from various U.S. government officials for iOS 8's security. The most infamous example may be Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who in October 2014 claimed that Apple was marketing to criminals, and that its technology would one day lead to the death of a child, since police would not be able to extract needed iPhone data.

iOS 8 not only encrypts iPhone and iPad data by default, but gives Apple no access to encryption keys, meaning that the company can't help produce someone's data even when served with a warrant or pressured by intelligence agencies.

In March, a document leaked by Snowden revealed a Central Intelligence Agency campaign to crack the security of iOS, OS X, BitLocker, and other platforms. Although it's unclear to what extent the CIA and NSA may have broken through iOS 8, past versions of iOS have been vulnerable to spying tools.

Snowden's latest comments mark a turn from earlier this year, when his lawyer said that the whistleblower refuses to use an iPhone, since the device "has special software that can activate itself without the owner" and gather information. The lawyer did not elaborate on whether that meant spyware from intelligence agencies or more pedestrian data tracking, such as diagnostics.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 125
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member

    It's almost too good to be true that Apple is a rare corporate "good guy" that is actually fighting the tyranny of the US government...but even I am starting to believe it.

  • Reply 2 of 125
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,180member
    pmz wrote: »
    It's almost too good to be true that Apple is a rare corporate "good guy" that is actually fighting the tyranny of the US government...but even I am starting to believe it.

    Good to know you are onboard. ;)
  • Reply 3 of 125
    Apple seems to be listening to its customers even if U.S. Congress isn't.
  • Reply 4 of 125
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,904member

    How much additional revenue will Apple rake in if organized crime, child molesters, pedophiles, Mexican drug cartels, Russian and Chinese spies, white collar corporate VIP criminals all switch to iOS to protect their ‘privacy’ rights? Could be billions. Is Hillary’s iPhone on iOS 8 yet? How about Jeb’s? 

  • Reply 5 of 125
    The comment from Deputy Attorney General James Cole seems to come from someone on Putin's staff rather than an American. This country used to stand for individual liberty and protection from tyranny. The tyrants are bellowing because their ability to invade the privacy of EVERY!!! citizen, using the criminal actions of a few as justification. I find it unfathomable that in "...In a land that's known as freedom how can such a thing be fair." (thanks to Graham Nash)
  • Reply 6 of 125
    cti1610cti1610 Posts: 4member
    Praise from a man who sold out the United States is not exactly a feather in Apple's corporate cap. Thanks, Apple, for making sure every religious extremist who wants to discuss murdering and maiming innocent people can do so freely. Nice job.
  • Reply 7 of 125
    Android had to stop mandatory encryption. I think it was because some hardware wasn't up to snuff. (fragmentation, half assed low end devices, etc.)


    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/03/google-quietly-backs-away-from-encrypting-new-lollipop-devices-by-default/
  • Reply 8 of 125
    I read that the FBI has stepped up their "Apple is helping terrorists" rhetoric.
  • Reply 9 of 125
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 631member

    As long as it's possible to encrypt your data and communications, the people with something important to hide will be doing it (unless they're completely clueless, I suppose). Having data encrypted by default protects the privacy of everybody else.

  • Reply 10 of 125
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,817member

    As much as I believe, Apple is still the only company that care much of personal privacy and fight for it. The rest of the world, not a bit, not even at all. This is why I rather pay premium price on a product that I can trust.

  • Reply 11 of 125
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,269member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    How much additional revenue will Apple rake in if organized crime, child molesters, pedophiles, Mexican drug cartels, Russian and Chinese spies, white collar corporate VIP criminals all switch to iOS to protect their ‘privacy’ rights? Could be billions. Is Hillary’s iPhone on iOS 8 yet? How about Jeb’s? 




    An absurd straw man argument.  

     

    Child molesters and pedophiles are caught by their actions and complaints about them, not by their phone calls.   Mexican drug cartels and the like have operated and expanded long before the advent of iOS.   Do you really think the Mexican and U.S. Governments don't already know about the cartels and their shipments?   If searching trucks at the borders doesn't stop the flow of drugs, do you really think phone call metadata is going to?

     

    In terms of terrorism, the U.S. Government can't point to a single case where terrorism was stopped due to NSA surveillance.   In fact, the opposite is true:  even when the NSA or FBI knew about a potential terrorist and was monitoring them to some extent, they failed to stop them from taking action.   This was true with the Boston bombers as well as many other recent events.    How is it that some of the 9/11 terrorists were permitted to go to flight school in the U.S.?   Monitoring their phone calls wouldn't have helped anything. 

     

    Monitoring gun sales would be a much stronger indicator of intent, but the paranoia of the gun lobby won't permit that to happen in the U.S.    Hell, we live in a country where many Texans truly believed that the recent military exercises in Texas were going to lead to the Federal Government "taking over Texas" and going house-to-house to take away people's guns.   

     

    IMO, the massive collection and analysis of data is counter-productive.   It's looking for the needle in the haystack instead of using NSA resources to target those who are most likely to commit terrorism.   If the NSA or FBI wants to target someone they can get a warrant.   Someone who is engaged in serious criminality isn't generally stupid enough to use a cell phone in a way they can be tracked anyway.   And can't the NSA still get cell phone metadata by going to the carriers anyway?   

     

    IMO, NSA's desire to consume every bit of data about us is not about fighting terrorism.  It's a mad dash for power, resources and billions of taxpayer dollars.    While the NSA budget is classified, it's been estimated at about $12 billion.   The total 2012 intelligence budget was around $75 billion ($647 per U.S. household).   

     

    Besides, in terms of terrorism from outside the U.S., we change our minds every year about who are our friends and who are our enemies.  

  • Reply 12 of 125
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 631member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    I read that the FBI has stepped up their "Apple is helping terrorists" rhetoric.



    Sadly, in this case the ones who are helping the terrorists are the FBI. The end goal of the terrorists isn't to kill a bunch of innocent people--they don't care about those people at all, except as a means to an end.  What they're trying to do is to get everybody else's attention and influence them by making them scared and uncomfortable. Every time you have to take off your shoes at the airport, it's a win for the terrorists. The same goes for the invasion of privacy. And when politicians invoke the threat of terrorism to sway voters, they're exploiting this terror to their advantage as well, and this is a win for the terrorists too. 

     

    From the way terrorism is usually discussed (and often our government's responses), it seems like few people even understand what terrorism really is.

     

    (Newton, by responding to your comment I don't mean to imply that any of this is news to you, I'm just venting to the discussion board in general)

  • Reply 13 of 125
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,532member
    Regardless, he's still a spy and should face treason charges.
  • Reply 14 of 125
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,276member
    Freedom always entails risks. There has always been and there will always be percentage of "bad actors" in society. They existed before any of the technologies the government is trying to subjugate existed and will still exist when new waves of technology sweep across future societies. To imply that allowing a basic human right like privacy to exist in a free society is somehow increasing the percentage of bad actors in our society is ridiculous.

    The defenders of pervasive spying on all citizens idea of freedom is a government issued padded cage with a water bottle and government issued food pellets dispensed to a feed bowl three times a day. If you're especially well behaved they might throw in an exercise wheel and let you watch two hours of government propaganda videos each day trying to convince you that you're now so much happier with complete absence of risk in your life.
  • Reply 15 of 125
    mubailimubaili Posts: 376member
    Now that is an endorsement. But as Gruber said in his blog, security should be icing on the cake. The product and service itself should be superb to start with. iCloud still leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Reply 16 of 125
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,037member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post



    An absurd straw man argument.  

     


     

    Missing the sarcasm?  :???: 

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post



    Regardless, he's still a spy and should face treason charges.


     


    As for this one, I actually can't tell...

  • Reply 17 of 125
    "The most infamous example may be Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who in October 2014 claimed that Apple was marketing to criminals, and that its technology would one day lead to the death of a child, since police would not be able to extract needed iPhone data."

    More likely, encryption on an iPhone could keep many children from harm because criminals could not see family information on the stolen phone.

    Raving snoop zealots like Cole are prime examples of the type of individuals who should not be in government.
  • Reply 18 of 125
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,875member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

     



    An absurd straw man argument.  

     

    Child molesters and pedophiles are caught by their actions and complaints about them, not by their phone calls.   Mexican drug cartels and the like have operated and expanded long before the advent of iOS.   Do you really think the Mexican and U.S. Governments don't already know about the cartels and their shipments?   If searching trucks at the borders doesn't stop the flow of drugs, do you really think phone call metadata is going to?

     

    In terms of terrorism, the U.S. Government can't point to a single case where terrorism was stopped due to NSA surveillance.   In fact, the opposite is true:  even when the NSA or FBI knew about a potential terrorist and was monitoring them to some extent, they failed to stop them from taking action.   This was true with the Boston bombers as well as many other recent events.    How is it that some of the 9/11 terrorists were permitted to go to flight school in the U.S.?   Monitoring their phone calls wouldn't have helped anything. 

     

    Monitoring gun sales would be a much stronger indicator of intent, but the paranoia of the gun lobby won't permit that to happen in the U.S.    Hell, we live in a country where many Texans truly believed that the recent military exercises in Texas were going to lead to the Federal Government "taking over Texas" and going house-to-house to take away people's guns.   

     

    IMO, the massive collection and analysis of data is counter-productive.   It's looking for the needle in the haystack instead of using NSA resources to target those who are most likely to commit terrorism.   If the NSA or FBI wants to target someone they can get a warrant.   Someone who is engaged in serious criminality isn't generally stupid enough to use a cell phone in a way they can be tracked anyway.   And can't the NSA still get cell phone metadata by going to the carriers anyway?   

     

    IMO, NSA's desire to consume every bit of data about us is not about fighting terrorism.  It's a mad dash for power, resources and billions of taxpayer dollars.    While the NSA budget is classified, it's been estimated at about $12 billion.   The total 2012 intelligence budget was around $75 billion ($647 per U.S. household).   

     

    Besides, in terms of terrorism from outside the U.S., we change our minds every year about who are our friends and who are our enemies.  


    You make good points, but you really think the NSA is going to release classified information on how or if it stopped a terrorist plot? The NSA played a part in the recent police shooting in Boston to stop a potential terrorist.  How would you know if monitoring phones calls of the 9/11 attackers would have or not have helped? You don't know. That's purely speculation on your part. 

     

    As for your other points, I agree. It seems like its way more work trying to sift through data from every American. The government obviously doesn't have enough resources to do that. Phone carriers aren't going to give up data unless they have a court order. That could take a while. It does seem way more productive to target people who have potential to carry out attacks versus collecting data on hundreds of millions of people. 

  • Reply 19 of 125
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PotatoLeekSoup View Post



    Apple seems to be listening to its customers even if U.S. Congress isn't.



    But, Congress IS listening to its customers...

    Your mistake is in assuming that that's the American people.

  • Reply 20 of 125
    isteelersisteelers Posts: 738member
    zoetmb wrote: »

    An absurd straw man argument.  

    Child molesters and pedophiles are caught by their actions and complaints about them, not by their phone calls.   Mexican drug cartels and the like have operated and expanded long before the advent of iOS.   Do you really think the Mexican and U.S. Governments don't already know about the cartels and their shipments?   If searching trucks at the borders doesn't stop the flow of drugs, do you really think phone call metadata is going to?

    In terms of terrorism, the U.S. Government can't point to a single case where terrorism was stopped due to NSA surveillance.   In fact, the opposite is true:  even when the NSA or FBI knew about a potential terrorist and was monitoring them to some extent, they failed to stop them from taking action.   This was true with the Boston bombers as well as many other recent events.    How is it that some of the 9/11 terrorists were permitted to go to flight school in the U.S.?   Monitoring their phone calls wouldn't have helped anything. 

    Monitoring gun sales would be a much stronger indicator of intent, but the paranoia of the gun lobby won't permit that to happen in the U.S.    Hell, we live in a country where many Texans truly believed that the recent military exercises in Texas were going to lead to the Federal Government "taking over Texas" and going house-to-house to take away people's guns.   

    IMO, the massive collection and analysis of data is counter-productive.   It's looking for the needle in the haystack instead of using NSA resources to target those who are most likely to commit terrorism.   If the NSA or FBI wants to target someone they can get a warrant.   Someone who is engaged in serious criminality isn't generally stupid enough to use a cell phone in a way they can be tracked anyway.   And can't the NSA still get cell phone metadata by going to the carriers anyway?   

    IMO, NSA's desire to consume every bit of data about us is not about fighting terrorism.  It's a mad dash for power, resources and billions of taxpayer dollars.    While the NSA budget is classified, it's been estimated at about $12 billion.   The total 2012 intelligence budget was around $75 billion ($647 per U.S. household).   

    Besides, in terms of terrorism from outside the U.S., we change our minds every year about who are our friends and who are our enemies.  

    I agree with most of your argument, but I don't believe monitoring gun sales does anything to stop terrorism. Only law-abiding citizens purchase their guns legally and register/carry permits for them. Criminals and terrorists are not going to getthem through legal means thus limiting the effectiveness of such monitoring. Personal gun owners are just being hassled by these types of programs.
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