FBI contacted Apple, received data related to San Bernardino case 3 days after shooting

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2016
According to a court filing prepared by Apple, the company first received -- and responded to -- FBI requests for information related to last year's deadly shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., just three days after the attack.




As noted in the declaration of Lisa Olle, manager of Apple's Global Privacy & Law Enforcement Compliance Team, law enforcement officials contacted the company's 24-hour emergency call center on the afternoon of Dec. 5, three days after Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in a self-proclaimed act of terrorism. Farook's iPhone 5c now sits at the heart of a contentious debate between privacy advocates and national security hawks.

The information sheds new light on Apple's efforts to cooperate with FBI investigatory operations prior to being served a federal court order compelling assistance in breaking into Farook's iPhone. It was previously learned that by early January Apple was in regular discussions with government officials over how best to extract the phone's data, though information stored on Apple's end was apparently provided weeks earlier.

On Dec. 5, Apple handed over two parcels of information after receiving legal notice seeking subscriber information (likely iCloud subscriber data, though it's not specified in Olle's declaration) attached to three names and nine specific accounts. A day later, Apple received a search warrant for emails, messages and other information associated with three separate accounts. Another request on Dec. 16 sought information related to one name and seven different accounts. Apple was able to provide same-day turnaround on each of the three requests.

As for the iCloud account attached to Farook's iPhone, Olle states the official search warrant was served on Jan. 22 seeking the same communications and customer information requested in December. Apple complied and on Jan. 26 provided the government with whatever data it had in its possession.

It was later revealed that the FBI ordered the San Bernardino County Department of Health, Farook's former employer and owner of the iPhone 5c in question, to reset the associated Apple ID password on Dec. 6 without first consulting Apple. Company representatives, including CEO Tim Cook, said the move was a misstep as it nullified the possibility of using iCloud's automatic sync feature to procure a backup without unlocking the device.

It appears Olle was part of the team responsible for handling alternatives extract data from Farook's iPhone 5c.

"Throughout the investigation, I and other Apple representatives, including a senior engineer, continually made ourselves available to the government, on a 24/7 basis, participating in teleconferences, providing technical assistance, answering questions from the FBI, and suggesting potential alternatives for the government to attempt to obtain data from the Subject Device," Olle's declaration reads.

Investigators have been unsuccessful in their attempts to break into Farook's iPhone 5c, which is protected by a strong encryption method designed to thwart brute-force attacks. To circumvent this particular security layer Apple would need to write a new, compromised version of its iOS operating system, sign the code and install it on the device. But Apple is refusing to comply, citing an overreach of federal authority and potential First Amendment rights implications.

With all other options apparently exhausted, and Apple refusing to create compromised code Cook likened to an iOS encryption "master key," the FBI filed an ex parte application to compel Apple's assistance. Federal Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym subsequently converted the motion into an order but, unlike the FBI, allowed Apple a chance to respond.

In a footnote to Apple's legal response, filed yesterday, the company said:

The government obtained the Order without notice to Apple and without allowing Apple an opportunity to be heard. [...] But this was not a case where the government needed to proceed in secret to safeguard its investigation; indeed, Apple understands that the government alerted reporters before filing its ex parte application, and then, immediately after it was signed and confirmed to be on the docket, distributed the application and Order to the public at about the same time it notified Apple. Moreover, this is the only case in counsel's memory in which an FBI Director has blogged in real-time about pending litigation, suggesting that the government does not believe the data on the phone will yield critical evidence about other suspects.

For its part, Apple says it has complied with thousands of valid search warrants seeking customer data deemed vital to criminal investigations, a fact the DOJ also noted in its motion to compel. Until the San Bernardino case, however, the company has not been asked to build a software workaround that ostensibly defeats iOS encryption.

Apple and its lawyers argue that the government, if allowed to set precedent in this case, would be granted "limitless" power that could one day infringe on basic civil rights. On the flip side, the FBI, Justice Department and White House content an Apple-created exploit would be strictly limited to a single device.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled to for March 22.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    Of course it will be limited to this device. But when precedence is set, anyone can ask Apple to re-do it.. again and again.
    edited February 2016 sockrolidbrian greenchiaredgeminipamwhitemagman1979mnbob1stevehjony0argonaut
  • Reply 2 of 67
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    Comey is very cunning. He's also a lying bag of sh1t. 
    postmansockrolidbrian greenradster360latifbpcincymacAttaeusredgeminipastskanantksundaram
  • Reply 3 of 67
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,335member
    It's time to face facts: The FBI rigged this investigation to set a precedence.  They broke the iPhone 5c so there would be no way for Apple to get the data off it.  They are trying to use Apple as an example, but they underestimated Apple as most people do.  Now there is an accurate timeline and we can see how the FBI is trying to mislead the American public to take away our privacy and liberty.
    postmansockrolidbrian greenradster360chiabrakkenlatifbpcincymacstskpscooter63
  • Reply 4 of 67
    As the evidence and timeline became public, it is clear that the FBI are incompetent, and liars.

    As Tim Cook pointed out, it is ironic that the very government that is supposed to protect our privacy and personal liberty are working so hard to take them away. 
    brian greenchiacincymacanantksundaramnousermwhitecalimnbob1magman1979steveh
  • Reply 5 of 67
    Perhaps millions of us should sign on letters of support for Apple's position and submit them to Apple's legal team to bolster their case?

    EDIT:  Well, heck look what I just found!
    https://www.google.com/amp/cpt-amp.production.gannettdigital.com/story/80935714/?client=safari#fpstate=amp_viewer
    edited February 2016 jagnut
  • Reply 6 of 67
    mimi Posts: 1member
    I don't have an iPhone. I don't use Apple products, I just don't like them. I hope Apple wins their case, they have every right not to break their own product by inventing a weakness. If Apple loses, I hope the Apple employees sue. They also have every right not to invent software that will undermine their efforts to make us all more secure in our communication.
    latifbpequality72521sailorpaulnouserjustadcomicsmwhitemnbob1baconstangstevehpalomine
  • Reply 7 of 67
    All of this is making me sick to stomach. FBI, DOJ and government is sounding more and more like an Evil Empire. Is that the Darth Wader's heavy breathing that I hear? 
    copelandbrakkenapplejeffcalimnbob1jony0argonautkevin keecornchip
  • Reply 8 of 67
    All of this is making me sick to stomach. FBI, DOJ and government is sounding more and more like an Evil Empire. Is that the Darth Wader's heavy breathing that I hear? 
    The Russians and the North Koreans are laughing their asses off.

    Come on, America! Get it together!
    cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 67
    brakken said:
    All of this is making me sick to stomach. FBI, DOJ and government is sounding more and more like an Evil Empire. Is that the Darth Wader's heavy breathing that I hear? 
    The Russians and the North Koreans are laughing their asses off.

    Come on, America! Get it together!
    So, are you saying that giving up some personal freedom and liberty in exchange for government protection is the right thing to do?  Fascist governments have promised the same thing for a very long time and none of them delivered on that promise.  Wake up man!
    mwhiteargonaut
  • Reply 10 of 67
    Is that the Darth Wader's heavy breathing that I hear? 
    Those thigh-high green wellies make him much less sinister!
    argonaut
  • Reply 11 of 67
    His work iPhone. His personal phone which likely had the goods on it was destroyed.
    retrogustomwhitecalimnbob1argonaut
  • Reply 12 of 67
    Americans are so willing to help out even if it means their privacy and security will be threatened in the future. They say "I got nothing to hide" and they're okay with letting law enforcement enter their homes without search warrants or probable cause. It is those type of Americans who are so clueless about their rights that endanger the rights of everybody.
    edited February 2016 647367calimnbob1magman1979tallest skilpropodargonautSpamSandwichchris_catechno
  • Reply 13 of 67
    The FBI can do what it wants. It is above the U.S. Constitution and knows how to circumvent it by using The Writs Act. Very clever and now Apple will be the FBI's technical support by proxy. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are next. Open your back doors or I'll brute force my way in.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,053member
    I wish Apple would release some new products so we could all get back to commenting on Apple products again.  :/
    retrogustotallest skilargonaut
  • Reply 15 of 67
    It's pretty easy, about like wire taps force the government to prove necessity and get a court order.  Everyone and national security protected.
  • Reply 16 of 67
    It's basically what I have said from the beginning - that the government has no qualified need to compel Apple to write a new OS, as the suspects are dead and they don't believe others were involved. The FBI and DOJ invented this situation as a ruse to get a backdoor, or obtain through the courts what they ought to be getting from Congress. What's really pathetic is that a majority of Americans, with the help of some worthless politicians and media pundits, are either too dumb to see this truth or willing to let law enforcement lie to violate our rights.
    mwhitecalimagman1979wetlanderstevehhlee1169argonautcornchip
  • Reply 17 of 67
    To think that a shooting spree that left 14 dead would have more of an ongoing investigation than did 9/11 which killed over 3000 people and an estimated 2 million people in the so called war on terror is an insult to the American people and the thousands of dead soldiers and the estimated 2,000,000+ people that were exterminated in this so called "War on Terror". America wake up. To find the truth you need only watch the actions of the individuals involved. Stop listening to words spoken. These lies can all be debunked by 5th graders. The war on terror is almost as big of a joke as the war on drugs, which has already cost millions of lives, not to mention the last 7 US drug Czars have been busted for transporting drugs from various spots in the world. Everyone knows we are in Iraq because of the special interest of the big oil companies, and big pharma has us in Afghanistan for the opium, just as they did in Vietnam. We don't have to be Nostradamus to predict what will happen next people. Simply open your history books and you will see. 
    calimagman1979nolamacguyargonautcornchip
  • Reply 18 of 67
    To think that a shooting spree that left 14 dead would have more of an ongoing investigation than did 9/11 which killed over 3000 people and an estimated 2 million people in the so called war on terror is an insult to the American people and the thousands of dead soldiers and the estimated 2,000,000+ people that were exterminated in this so called "War on Terror". America wake up. To find the truth you need only watch the actions of the individuals involved. Stop listening to words spoken. These lies can all be debunked by 5th graders. The war on terror is almost as big of a joke as the war on drugs, which has already cost millions of lives, not to mention the last 7 US drug Czars have been busted for transporting drugs from various spots in the world. Everyone knows we are in Iraq because of the special interest of the big oil companies, and big pharma has us in Afghanistan for the opium, just as they did in Vietnam. We don't have to be Nostradamus to predict what will happen next people. Simply open your history books and you will see. 
    Um.... Wandered into the wrong site?
    pscooter63justadcomicshmmgatorguyrazorpit
  • Reply 19 of 67
    Lisa Ollie's comments make this issue even more confusing. She described how Apple has complied with every lawful request for information, and explained how an automated iCloud backup could probably have provided the information the FBI wants. To me, that shifts the focus of the discussion.

    Privacy is an issue in this debate, but it's not really the primary concern. It's obvious that government and law enforcement can already access your phone calls, text messages, email, and contacts by means that don't require unlocking the phone. Giving investigators access to the phone itself isn't a big leap over the powers they already have.

    The bigger issue is a courts forcing a private entity to "make" something. If you're a carpenter, should the court be allowed to force you to build a fence? Should a writer be forced to write a book on a subject of the court's choosing? Should a musician be forced to write an anti-terrorism song? Demanding that Apple write software is equally absurd.

    If you take away the fact that this phone was in the possession of a terrorist, and consider that your supposedly "private" information is actually already available to investigators anyway, you're still left with a really troubling concept: a court ordering someone to create something that doesn't exist. Talk about a slippery slope!
    anantksundaramjustadcomicsmwhitecalimagman1979hlee1169argonautSpamSandwichcornchipicoco3
  • Reply 20 of 67
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 195member
    Can the FBI be sued for engaging in PR, instead of investigatory, tactics? They basically wasted the victims' families' (and taxpayer) time by spending it on PR stunts and misinformation. Not only that, they sabotaged the iCloud backup on purpose to ensure that there weren't any stones left to turn, not even by Apple, other than the El Capitan-sized stone the FBI wants turned. 
    mwhitecalimagman1979argonautcornchipicoco3razorpitjony0
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