White House says FBI wants access to one iPhone, not blanket backdoor from Apple

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2016
The White House has taken issue with Apple's suggestion that creating a backdoor to iOS would threaten the security of all its customers, instead arguing that the issue applies to just one iPhone in question.




In a press briefing on Wednesday, spokesman Josh Earnest said the government does not want Apple to "create a new backdoor to its products," according to Reuters. Instead, he suggested the issue is related to just one case: The December terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that resulted in 16 deaths and 24 injuries.
The White House believes this is about one case, but Apple believes creating a backdoor could set a dangerous precedent.
"(President Barack Obama) certainly believes that this is an important national priority," Earnest told reporters at the White House.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook himself predicted this argument in his open letter to the public on Wednesday, saying that the government "may argue that its use would be limited to this case." But in Cook's view, "there is no way to guarantee such control."

From Apple's perspective, creating a tool to access a single iPhone could open the flood gates for future issues rippling well beyond the investigation into the San Bernardino shooting.

"In the wrong hands, this software -- which does not exist today --?would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone's physical possession," Cook said.

The controversy began Tuesday, when a U.S. magistrate judge ordered Apple to comply with FBI requests to help extract data from an iPhone owned by one of the shooters involved in the terrorist attack. The device in question is an iPhone 5c that was password protected by the gunman, and is set to erase a stored decryption key after ten unsuccessful login attempts.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 176
    What part of "if we make the OS vulnerable for one phone, we make it vulnerable for EVERY phone" does Obama not understand? How many times does Tim have to explain the fact that once a phone is locked, it's either unlocked by the user or wiped by Apple or someone failing to enter the correct passcode multiple times? 
    gtrAustinCableAMCOmahaSpamSandwichlatifbpjbdragonfrankeed
  • Reply 2 of 176
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 195member
    I do not trust the government one bit in these technological scenarios. Hey My Government, were there WMDs in Iraq? Please tell me the truth. 
    irelandAMCjfc1138cornchipwilliamlondondesignrSpamSandwichfrankeed
  • Reply 3 of 176
    ceek74ceek74 Posts: 324member
    Let's just get rid of all encryption and see how long before complete chaos ensues.  My guess, milliseconds.  But sometimes to achieve order complete chaos is required first.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 176
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,653member
    If I'm not mistaken, the White House is Obama, so I'm waiting to read all of the Obama bashing soon that will be in this thread. :#
    AMC
  • Reply 5 of 176
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    Didn't Apple say it was impossible to break into the latest iPhones and iOS ?

    But if it has the touch entry, hasn't the FBI tried the touch of that dead terrorist's fingers.

    I recall when a well know top end car had a touch function to start it,
     thieves who took over a few of those cars from the owners,
      cut off a few fingers so they could leave the owner at the roadside.
  • Reply 6 of 176
    technotechno Posts: 699member
    josha said:
    Didn't Apple say it was impossible to break into the latest iPhones and iOS ?

    But if it has the touch entry, hasn't the FBI tried the touch of that dead terrorist's fingers.

    I recall when a well know top end car had a touch function to start it,
     thieves who took over a few of those cars from the owners,
      cut off a few fingers so they could leave the owner at the roadside.

    "In the wrong hands, this software -- which does not exist today --?would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone's physical possession," Cook said.

    I bet the FBI didn't even think of using the finger. I bet they are still using flip phones.

  • Reply 7 of 176
    josha said:
    Didn't Apple say it was impossible to break into the latest iPhones and iOS ?

    But if it has the touch entry, hasn't the FBI tried the touch of that dead terrorist's fingers.

    I recall when a well know top end car had a touch function to start it,
     thieves who took over a few of those cars from the owners,
      cut off a few fingers so they could leave the owner at the roadside.
    They could if they could somehow retrofit a 5C with Touch ID.....

    But it's OK to ask Apple to put a whole lot of resource into solving this one single phone problem. I'm sure it would only be this one iPhone. No other ones. Honest. Would we lie to you ? After the US DoJ went after Apple so evenhandedly over the old iBooks thing and all I'm sure Apple are only too keen to help.
    h2pnolamacguymwhiteAnibrakkenwilliamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 176
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,653member
    josha said:
    But if it has the touch entry, hasn't the FBI tried the touch of that dead terrorist's fingers.
    This was already discussed yesterday. The dead terrorist was using an iPhone 5c, no Touch ID.

    And just for the sake of conversation, even if they were using a newer iPhone with Touch ID, apparently, dead fingers will not work, according to a link posted by somebody yesterday, lostkiwi I believe posted it.
  • Reply 9 of 176
    The point is not single or multiple iPhones...

    Such a software does NOT exist today and can you, the gov't, force us Apple to write it? That is the point...
    dws-2williamlondondesignrjbdragonicoco3frankeed
  • Reply 10 of 176
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    "It's just one phone".

    It is NOT just one phone. It is THE FIRST phone. The critical one that sets the precedent and can never be undone. Its everything.
    stompyAMCdws-2pscooter63mike1realjustinlongAnibrakkencornchipjony0
  • Reply 11 of 176
    h2ph2p Posts: 264member
    2 questions / ideas:

    1) iForgot.apple.com: Is there a way to access the phone via Apple ID?

    2) ...assuming you can't... If the FBI bring the phone to Apple "Labs"... Can Apple disable the erase feature to allow a brute force attack? I don't know if it is even possible. If it were, then Apple could charge to disable that feature... the Gov't brings computers to Apple and/or uses Apple hardware to do the brute force attack.

    Am I completely off base?
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 12 of 176
    josha said:
    Didn't Apple say it was impossible to break into the latest iPhones and iOS ?

    But if it has the touch entry, hasn't the FBI tried the touch of that dead terrorist's fingers.

    I recall when a well know top end car had a touch function to start it,
     thieves who took over a few of those cars from the owners,
      cut off a few fingers so they could leave the owner at the roadside.
    That is correct. FBI doesn't want Apple to break into the iPhone. They want Apple to remove the mechanism whereby multiple failed attempts to enter the passcode would result in all data being wiped. With that mechanism out of the way, they will try to brute-force the passcode without the risk of wiping the phone in the process.
    h2pfrankeed
  • Reply 13 of 176
    irelandireland Posts: 17,587member
    Well the US Government has never lied before.
    designrfrankeed
  • Reply 14 of 176
    Has anybody bothered asking the FBI exactly what they're hoping to find, and what proof there is that any such information will actually be, on the phone. I think you Americans call it probable cause or something although I may have watched one too many police programmes for my own good.
    h2pktappedws-2brakken
  • Reply 15 of 176
    Unfortunately, the White House may be "arguing that the issue applies to just one iPhone in question", but the argument doesn't hold water. The way they are demanding that Apple open "just one iPhone in question" is to make a tool that can break the lock, and once they do this, that tool can break into any iPhone. Or every iPhone.
    But, what's worse is that this sets a precedent.  Once the US government says that a U.S. court has the power to demand this, then the European courts will say that it applies to them, too.  And then the Russian courts. And the Chinese courts.  And Saudi Arabian courts.  And Iranian courts.  And, of course, the government security agencies won't leave it alone.
    Basically: once you make a tool to open a back door into a phone, you can't pretend it's not there any more.  When you put a back door in, you are no longer really in charge of who gets to let themselves in.
    nolamacguyjfc1138Anibadmonkdesignrloopychewtheunfetteredmindfrankeed
  • Reply 16 of 176
    If what the FBI is asking is to have Apple hack into this one iPhone, and Apple is saying that's not possible due to their own encryption, then that's the end of the story, no?  I mean, Apple can't change iOS to add in a backdoor, so that they can gain access to a dead person's iPhone running a different version of iOS.  

    This whole things smells a bit fishy - as in why is Apple getting crap about this, when what this should be described as is the FBI wanting Apple to hack into this iPhone (by any means possible) to retrieve data.  Either the FBI knows Apple can do it, and they're using this as a wedge to force compliance to something Apple has made it clear they don't support (using the courts and the court of public opinion), or Apple knows they can't hack the phone without creating something that may very well jeopardize the security of all iPhones going forward.

    Frankly, I think the time and money being spent on this, is way overblown for the severity of the situation.  Yes, it's terrible that innocent people lost their lives, but hundreds of innocent people lose their lives every day and we're not trying to roast a company who has made it a point to tell us they are protecting our data.  This fear of terrorism takes away valuable time, money and resources that could actually do good, in the hopes of stopping something that may or may not happen.  And given the numbers, terrorism in the US certainly is not even a fraction of what causes most of the senseless deaths each year. 
    brakken
  • Reply 17 of 176
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,032member
    hammerd2 said:
    josha said:
    Didn't Apple say it was impossible to break into the latest iPhones and iOS ?

    But if it has the touch entry, hasn't the FBI tried the touch of that dead terrorist's fingers.

    I recall when a well know top end car had a touch function to start it,
     thieves who took over a few of those cars from the owners,
      cut off a few fingers so they could leave the owner at the roadside.
    They could if they could somehow retrofit a 5C with Touch ID.....

    But it's OK to ask Apple to put a whole lot of resource into solving this one single phone problem. I'm sure it would only be this one iPhone. No other ones. Honest. Would we lie to you ? After the US DoJ went after Apple so evenhandedly over the old iBooks thing and all I'm sure Apple are only too keen to help.
    Glad you brought this up. I have a suggestion for Apple and a way to help the FBI. The FBI gives the iPhone to Apple and lets Apple figure out a way to unlock it, then gives the data back to the FBI. In return for this one-time favor (haha), the court system backs off of Apple, reverses the eBook fiasco, then goes after Amazon, which they should have done in the first place. They can also institute an inquiry into all the corrupt judges in this country who are obviously not doing their jobs correctly.

    Of course, this would never happen.

    "I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine."
    hammerd2h2pjony0frankeed
  • Reply 18 of 176
    If the NSA already had a remote backdoor into every iPhone, the best way for them to convince people they didn't would be to demand that Apple unlock a phone for them, and have Apple refuse! Well played, Apple and NSA, well played! Now criminals everywhere are going to assume all their data is perfectly safe on an iPhone, just like you wanted!
    AMC
  • Reply 19 of 176
    h2ph2p Posts: 264member
    hammerd2 said:
    Has anybody bothered asking the FBI exactly what they're hoping to find, and what proof there is that any such information will actually be, on the phone. I think you Americans call it probable cause...
    Very Good Point!!

    What if the FBI hacked their email and iCloud accounts... perhaps Apple can tell them how to hack into their Notes/Messages, etc accounts. Isn't that info in the "cloud" on a server somewhere? Or perhaps this was a long planned, pre-meditated act where there is no cloud data available.
  • Reply 20 of 176
    ... Once the US government says that a U.S. court has the power to demand this, then the European courts will say that it applies to them, too.  And then the Russian courts. And the Chinese courts.  And Saudi Arabian courts.  And Iranian courts.  And, of course, the government security agencies won't leave it alone.

    That is the reason the CEO points to All Wrlts Act... Bypassing the Congress by means of writs... substituting lawmakers with writ makers...
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