Mark Zuckerberg voices support for Apple in encryption row, but FBI is winning public mindshare

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2016
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg added his name to the list of tech leaders rallying behind Apple in its encryption debate with the Justice Department, but a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center suggests the FBI is winning over public sentiment.


Mark Zuckerberg at Samsung's MWC keynote. | Source: Mark Zuckerberg


Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, Zuckerberg said Facebook believes in encryption, adding that software backdoors are not effective and ethically dubious, reports Re/code.

"We're sympathetic with Apple on this one," Zuckerberg said. "I expect it's not the right thing to try to block that from the mainstream products people want to use. And I think it's not going to be the right regulatory or economic policy to put in place."

While siding with Apple on the overarching issue of strong encryption, the social media guru hedged his bets and pointed out Facebook does its part by complying with warranted law enforcement data requests. As Apple is currently locking horns with the DOJ over an iPhone tied to last year's San Bernardino shooting, Zuckerberg's comments on Monday had bearing on the government's anti-terrorism cybersecurity campaign.

"We certainly do have very strong policies on this that if there's any content that's promoting terrorism or sympathizing with ISIS or anything like that, we'll ... get those people off the service. We don't want people that are doing that stuff on Facebook," he said.

Being the world's foremost social network, Facebook has obvious skin in the game when it comes to protecting its users' data. Aside from user-based targeted advertising, the company's WhatsApp messaging service uses end-to-end encryption technology similar to Apple's iMessage, meaning it might see similar government pressure if the DOJ is able to set precedent with Apple.

Zuckerberg's appraisal of the developing situation comes days after other influential tech personalities like Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and entrepreneur Mark Cuban voiced their support of Apple's fight for encryption. However, the Justice Department is waging its own PR battle for favorable public opinion, and it appears to be going well.

In a Pew Research Center poll conducted late last week, 51 percent of respondents said Apple should "unlock the iPhone" used by San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, while 38 percent said the company "should not unlock" the handset. The remaining 11 percent did not offer an opinion. The exact questions posed to poll takers was not revealed, but it seems U.S. sentiment is, for the most part, in agreement with the DOJ.

It should be noted, however, that Apple is not being asked to unlock the iPhone 5c, but rather provide a software workaround that bypasses a passcode attempt counter, thereby allowing FBI agents to conduct a brute force attack on the device. The company is not being asked to unlock a single phone, but rather supply a proof-of-concept tool capable of breaking a major facet of iOS encryption.

The FBI, as well as the White House, has stated on numerous occasions that the Apple-created forensic tool would only be used to crack Farook's iPhone 5c. On the other hand, security experts and Apple itself claim the creation of such a bypass inherently weakens iOS encryption, threatening millions of iOS devices.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 75
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,317member
    ""We certainly do have very strong policies on this that if there's any content that's promoting terrorism or sympathizing with ISIS or anything like that, we'll ... get those people off the service. We don't want people that are doing that stuff on Facebook," he said." Hey Zuck, there's a difference between getting into a cloud based service, and a physical device with local, private, encrypted content.
    lostkiwiargonaut
  • Reply 2 of 75
    Well the public is dumb and easily persuaded. Welcome to the Idiocracy.
    civapunkndrubliclostkiwimanfred zornkevin keebloggerblogfastasleepdysamoriahorvaticpotatoleeksoup
  • Reply 3 of 75
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,548member
    It is all about fear that has worked with humans. The Fear of Unknown is the Cornerstone of faith/religion. So, I am sure part of public who is uninformed about the future consequences will take FBI side. They will follow The Road Taken!!! Public opinion survey outcome depends on how you ask questions ?
    edited February 2016 manfred zornkevin keedysamorialatifbpjahbladeargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 75
    IMO, if Apple is physically capable of doing something to help, they should do it.
    Oh, and Apple should make devices uncrackable to themselves in the first place, otherwise it is just security through obscurity. 

  • Reply 5 of 75
    Apple will win if they win and win if they lose.
  • Reply 6 of 75
    Guns don't kill people, digitally encrypted phones do.
    brakkengenovelle[Deleted User]
  • Reply 7 of 75
    @jason98 As someone who works as a programmer, I'd like to address 3 points. 1. Apple has already done everything it can to help, short of writing a backdoor. It has given everything to the police from the iCloud account, and in other cases have helped police unlock phones secured poorly. 2. This phone is secured well - the user has activated data encryption, and protected his phone from brute force by enabling wipe after X failed password attempts. This is actually exact what you are saying - Apple has made a phone that is un-crackable to themselves. If you want this, then you should support Apple, because the FBI wants that to be illegal. 3. Apple cannot crack the iphone. What the police wants is for Apple to create a cracked OS, and then "update" the phone with the shitty, backdoored OS. Think of the torrent sites, and cracked games - once created, it will be on the internet forever. The creation of such a cracked OS will allow anyone who has access to it to crack any iphone - be it FBI, terrorists, or foreign governments like China.
    brakkengenovellelostkiwimanfred zornkevin keemdriftmeyerfastasleepdysamoriajahbladefotoformat
  • Reply 8 of 75
    There is a reason why anyone who has knowledge in this field (programmers, Google CEO, facebook CEO, security expert John McAfee) all support Apple. On the surface, laymen may think that Apple can just provide a one-use crack to help the FBI. However, Apple doesn't have such cracking software, they would need to create it - and once that cat is out of the bag, the security of all iphone users will be forever compromised.
    lostkiwikevin kee
  • Reply 9 of 75
    Apple, known for its cut-throat business practices and superior attitude, is wrong on two fronts. First, it is actively obstructing justice and obstructing the investigation of a mass murder. Second, it's fundamental argument is the "slippery slope" argument. Even beginning debate students and those in Logic 101 know that the slippery slope argument is consider an invalid argument on its face.
  • Reply 10 of 75
    ashmizen said:
    @jason98 As someone who works as a programmer...  The creation of such a cracked OS will allow anyone who has access to it to crack any iphone - be it FBI, terrorists, or foreign governments like China.
    This is lame. Ability to create OS to crack device encryption on an existing phone is exactly a security through obscurity.
  • Reply 11 of 75
    The feds are pulling the same thing they did back in 2001. They used the fear generated by the 9/11 attacks to pass the patriot act. Now they are using the San Bernardino attacks to spread their liberty-smashing surveillance state procedures directly into your pants pocket.

    If the polls are true, they're winning. In fact, we have one such moron right in this comments thread: note the boot-licking, pants-peeing, liberty-hating Bdoober.  
    lostkiwidysamoriaRayz2016palomineargonaut
  • Reply 12 of 75
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member
    Bdoober said:
    Apple, known for its cut-throat business practices and superior attitude, is wrong on two fronts. First, it is actively obstructing justice and obstructing the investigation of a mass murder. Second, it's fundamental argument is the "slippery slope" argument. Even beginning debate students and those in Logic 101 know that the slippery slope argument is consider an invalid argument on its face.
    Obstructing justice?  Really?  Are you sure?  Obstruction of justice is actually a crime and no one has accused anyone at Apple of it.  The FBI is asking Apple to write hacking tools for them.  Is it your sincere belief that anyone should be compelled to do whatever is asked of them in order to help facilitate an FBI investigation?

    I agree slippery slopes seldom are.  However, the one place that is absolutely not true is when it comes to legal precedent.




    edited February 2016 lostkiwikevin keedysamoriaicoco3palomineargonaut
  • Reply 13 of 75
    Guns don't kill people, digitally encrypted phones do.
    Simple but effective!!!

  • Reply 14 of 75
    We're not gonna sit in silence,
    We're not gonna live in fear!

    Seems like a whole lotta people already do, though. 
    If the feds win, Apple will undoubtably work around it to ensure security for us after they are forced to pay for creating a once-off operating system on the slim chance that any of the infi in the phone is 1) in existence 2) relevant and 3) not six months or more out of date. 

    What a faff!! Can't these people find something more productive to do, like institute gun ownership education programs and removing US forces from foreign soils?

    I guess not >:(
    edited February 2016 lostkiwidysamorialatifbpRayz2016palomine
  • Reply 15 of 75
    ashmizen said:
    There is a reason why anyone who has knowledge in this field (programmers, Google CEO, facebook CEO, security expert John McAfee) all support Apple. On the surface, laymen may think that Apple can just provide a one-use crack to help the FBI. However, Apple doesn't have such cracking software, they would need to create it - and once that cat is out of the bag, the security of all iphone users will be forever compromised.

    I'm given some pants to exactly what you said here.

    However, that's not the case especially if you read the documents that were filed in court.

    The FBI is willing to mail the iPhone in question to Apple.  When that happens, The only way Anyone can get technical know-how is if Apple
    includes a copy of the software... Perhaps on a flash drive, when it's returned. 

     Also you made mention that John McAfee is interested in supporting Apple. Actually, he is willing to lead the team of hackers to helps the FBI if Apple is  unavailable or otherwise flippant in the following the court order.

    Apple's response is actually more of a dog and pony show.  Maybe Tim's response was written when Bruce Sewell was at hitting the trails Vail Resorts or smoking dope on the ski runs.  Either way, Apple is retaining terrible legal counsel!  I wonder if compensation is based on performance bonuses.  If so, Apple has just created a lot of work for its legal team.  Might be time to consider investing in other companies.
  • Reply 16 of 75
    Apple needs to get its ad agency on this. A commercial that clarifies its position In an understandable and persuasive way. Many who oppose Apple just don't understand the issue. 
    dysamoriajahbladeargonaut
  • Reply 17 of 75
    Bdoober said:
    Apple, known for its cut-throat business practices and superior attitude, is wrong on two fronts. First, it is actively obstructing justice and obstructing the investigation of a mass murder. Second, it's fundamental argument is the "slippery slope" argument. Even beginning debate students and those in Logic 101 know that the slippery slope argument is consider an invalid argument on its face.
    How can you obstruct justice when you no longer own the device. When they sold the device they relinquished ownership of it. The reason they can supply information from backups is because they own the servers. To compel a private company to break into another persons property for any reason is not legally sound.  This would be the equivalent to the guy who sold you a house being legally responsible for the police not being able to access your security cameras because you changed the access code to protect your privacy. 

    Logic 101 would dictate that if Apple is compelled to write a weaker security version of iOS that could be force loaded on the phone then this ruling will be used by every police department in the country to gain access to it, then open to hacking while on their systems. The other relates to the fact that once created it  other countries like China will demand a copy if they are to still operate in their country. Remember they tried to demand their code a few years back but Fortunately Apple won that case. This would undermine that win and throw them back into court. 

    kevin keedysamoriaicoco3
  • Reply 18 of 75
    Next, China will insist on being able to hack into phones. Then other countries and so on. I'm sure the FBI won't use the technology for anything other than one phone. Nah, we're overreacting. How about the FBI turns the phone over to Apple who breaks into it without telling the FBI how and gives the phone back to them? Why does the federal government need to know how Apple does it? Makes you wonder what their real goal is.
    kevin keeargonaut
  • Reply 19 of 75
    Bdoober said:
    First, it is actively obstructing justice and obstructing the investigation of a mass murder. 
    A court has the authority to issue a warrant for the contents of my safe. And while they can't force me to open it, they can, in fact, hire someone to do so.

    What they do not have the authority to do is go to the company that produced the safe and REQUIRE them to create a device that lets the court open my safe after they find out that they can't do it by themselves. 

    That's judicial overreach by the court, and that's what Apple is protesting. The slippery-slope arguments are after the fact (though no less "real" because of it).

    Though the government claims otherwise, everyone pretty much understands that the "We only want it once for this one phone. Honest!" claim by the FBI exists solely to set a precedent. Should Apple cave, the government will apply the same criteria to the next case. And the next. And the next.

    As will the governments of China, India, Saudi Arabia, and everyplace else Apple sells iPhones. Terrorist? Murderer? Pedophile? Homosexual? Dissident? Member of an opposing political party? So sorry, but we need to search your phone.
    quadra 610kevin keedysamorialatifbpargonaut
  • Reply 20 of 75
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,870member
    ashmizen said:
    There is a reason why anyone who has knowledge in this field (programmers, Google CEO, facebook CEO, security expert John McAfee) all support Apple. On the surface, laymen may think that Apple can just provide a one-use crack to help the FBI. However, Apple doesn't have such cracking software, they would need to create it - and once that cat is out of the bag, the security of all iphone users will be forever compromised.

    I'm given some pants to exactly what you said here.

    However, that's not the case especially if you read the documents that were filed in court.

    The FBI is willing to mail the iPhone in question to Apple.  When that happens, The only way Anyone can get technical know-how is if Apple
    includes a copy of the software... Perhaps on a flash drive, when it's returned. 

     Also you made mention that John McAfee is interested in supporting Apple. Actually, he is willing to lead the team of hackers to helps the FBI if Apple is  unavailable or otherwise flippant in the following the court order.

    Apple's response is actually more of a dog and pony show.  Maybe Tim's response was written when Bruce Sewell was at hitting the trails Vail Resorts or smoking dope on the ski runs.  Either way, Apple is retaining terrible legal counsel!  I wonder if compensation is based on performance bonuses.  If so, Apple has just created a lot of work for its legal team.  Might be time to consider investing in other companies.
    Apple shouldnt have to crack its own phone. If the FBI wants access, let them do it. 

    This is precedence. Now it's just one phone, how many more phones will the FBI send? Today it's terrorism, tomorrow it's political enemies. 
    Wmchukkevin keeicoco3
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