Justice Department asserts it could demand source code, signing key from Apple

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited March 2016
In the confrontation over the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, the U.S. Justice Department believes it could potentially demand that Apple hand over iOS source code and a signing key, according to a court filing.




The Justice Department made the proposal as a footnote in a recent rebuttal of Apple's arguments in the case, Reuters reported on Tuesday. In the brief, government lawyers said they have so far pursued their current strategy -- asking Apple to build a passcode limit break for the FBI -- because they thought handing over code would be "less palatable" to the company.

"If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple," the lawyers said.

Source code and a signing key would allow the government to build its own workaround for Farook's phone. It could also allow agencies to slip modified software onto other iOS devices however, and might set a precedent not just in the U.S. but in other countries.

Apple has already expressed concerns about a self-made workaround for iOS security, arguing for instance that it would compromise the platform, and that the U.S. can't compel a company to write new software.

One source told Reuters that the Justice Department doesn't intend to press the idea of seizing code. A source close to Apple, meanwhile, claimed that the company isn't that worried, and won't try to argue the matter in a response to the DOJ brief due later today.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,748member
    Wow. Reeks of desperation.
    designrmwhitenousermagman1979manfred zornlatifbpbaconstanglostkiwi
  • Reply 2 of 82
    ceek74ceek74 Posts: 324member
    Next they're going to request to have the brains of the software engineers removed and cryogenically frozen for future use.  Wake up people, this is becoming scarier each day.  Each day a step closer to life in North Korea.
    designrmwhitechaickabdkennedy1002palominecornchipnousermagman1979manfred zornlatifbp
  • Reply 3 of 82
    "If you don't voluntarily do what we want, we'll force you."

    Is this Hitler's Germany?
    mwhitechaickapalominecornchipjohnnashnousermagman1979JanNLlatifbplordjohnwhorfin
  • Reply 4 of 82
    schlackschlack Posts: 708member
    holy ****. if they even start down that path...apple better pack up shop and relocate to Canada fast a possible.
    magman1979applejefflordjohnwhorfinsessamoidlostkiwi
  • Reply 5 of 82
    designrdesignr Posts: 617member
    This is a straight up intimidation tactic. So the difference between the FBI and the mob at this point is what exactly?
    mwhitepostmanchaickapalominenousermagman1979applejeffJanNLfracdaren_mitchell
  • Reply 6 of 82
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,646member
    Wow, we're getting closer to a dictatorship where nothing is protected. The headline is a little sensationalist compared to the actual article but if the Justice Dept is even thinking about it, it worries me. I'm sure they don't have any legal grounds to do this just like they don't have any legal grounds to compel Apple to write software to hack its own system. This insanity by the Justice Dept and FBI really needs to stop. It's an embarrassment to the people of the US and is making us look even more foolish than we already do to the rest of the world.
    mwhitedesignrpostmanchaickapalominecornchipjohnnashnousermagman1979applejeff
  • Reply 7 of 82
    designrdesignr Posts: 617member
    rob53 said:
    Wow, we're getting closer to a dictatorship where nothing is protected.

    Yes, and the president is pretty supportive of it.
    nouserapplejefflatifbptallest skil
  • Reply 8 of 82
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,030member
    LOL Good luck with that.
    nouser
  • Reply 9 of 82
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    rob53 said:
    Wow, we're getting closer to a dictatorship where nothing is protected. The headline is a little sensationalist compared to the actual article but if the Justice Dept is even thinking about it, it worries me. I'm sure they don't have any legal grounds to do this just like they don't have any legal grounds to compel Apple to write software to hack its own system. This insanity by the Justice Dept and FBI really needs to stop. It's an embarrassment to the people of the US and is making us look even more foolish than we already do to the rest of the world.
    Our appearance to the rest of the world is irrelevant. Without our constitutional protections the US is no better than China or Russia...which may be what Obama and his globalist buddies have been going for.
    designrmwhitecornchipnousermagman1979jdgazration albuzdots
  • Reply 10 of 82
    designrdesignr Posts: 617member
    Another article (http://www.extremetech.com/mobile/224709-the-gloves-are-off-fbi-argues-it-can-force-apple-to-turn-over-iphone-source-code) has this quote from the brief:

    “Apple’s rhetoric is not only false, but also corrosive of the very institutions that are best able to safeguard our liberty and our rights: the courts, the Fourth Amendment, longstanding precedent and venerable laws, and the democratically elected branches of government.”

    What's not obvious to many is that those institutions, as history shows, are actually not always the best way to safeguard our liberty and rights. In fact this present situation is an example of why we ought to be careful about these institutions we're asked to trust. This is why we need things like strong encryption.
    edited March 2016 chaickapalominecornchipnousermagman1979manfred zornlatifbpGot Truth?jony0brakken
  • Reply 11 of 82
    postmanpostman Posts: 35member
    Threats. Bullying. Intimidation. And they wonder why the public doesn't trust the government?

    FBI director James Comey should be fired for starting this grandstand hostile attack on Apple – treating them like a criminal organization. Obviously, Tim Cook has no choice but to fight this.

    The damage Comey has done to the FBI's reputation, much less the entire relationship tech companies will have with them going forward is incalculable. I mean, why would any big tech company want to "cooperate with", much less ever trust this gov't bureaucrat prick again?


    designrpalominemwhitecornchipnouserfotoformatmagman1979applejeffdaren_mitchelllatifbp
  • Reply 12 of 82
    chaickachaicka Posts: 238member
    Maybe the time to join the rest and become anti-US is getting nearer each day... If US really does go down this path, I am sure the rest of the world will start turning elsewhere. Looks like the downfall of US firms won't be due to competition but instead, due to anti-competition and suffocation from the DICTATORSHIP.

    So much for the talks and preaching of DEMOCRACY to the rest of the world!!!
    nouserlordjohnwhorfinbrakkenjony0sessamoidlostkiwi
  • Reply 13 of 82
    webweaselwebweasel Posts: 116member
    Maybe Apple should headquarter themselves in Switzerland if the FBI are going to behave like this. How depressingly moronic.
    designrSpamSandwichnousermagman1979applejefflordjohnwhorfinbaconstangsessamoid
  • Reply 14 of 82
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Ireland will be happy to receive Apple HQ.

    Tim should start talking company inversions and the lost tax revenue.


    edited March 2016 sessamoid
  • Reply 15 of 82
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    webweasel said:
    Maybe Apple should headquarter themselves in Switzerland if the FBI are going to behave like this. How depressingly moronic.
    Or Luxembourg.
    designrbaconstangsessamoid
  • Reply 16 of 82
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    webweasel said:
    Maybe Apple should headquarter themselves in Switzerland if the FBI are going to behave like this. How depressingly moronic.
    And how would that stop them demanding the code?
    applejeffspacekid
  • Reply 17 of 82
    designrdesignr Posts: 617member
    chaicka said:

    So much for the talks and preaching of DEMOCRACY to the rest of the world!!!

    We actually need to be careful about championing or appealing to democracy in this because it can backfire. In fact, I think one of the reasons the FBI went public with this case was because they thought they had (and to some extent still may have) a "slam dunk" appeal to emotion case with the general public that would ultimately force Apple into capitulating.

    Apple is, rightly, taking a principled stand here regardless of what the majority may want or think. They are right in this case and right and wrong are not subject to popular vote. I hope they stand firm even if the tide of public opinion turns against them. That, not democracy, is the basis and foundation of liberty.
    edited March 2016 applejeffSpamSandwichGot Truth?sessamoidewtheckman
  • Reply 18 of 82
    designrdesignr Posts: 617member
    webweasel said:
    Maybe Apple should headquarter themselves in Switzerland if the FBI are going to behave like this. How depressingly moronic.
    And how would that stop them demanding the code?

    Not sure it can stop the demand, but it could provide legal protection from actually getting it. I'm not sure how international law handles these things.
  • Reply 19 of 82
    michael_cmichael_c Posts: 164member
    webweasel said:
    Maybe Apple should headquarter themselves in Switzerland if the FBI are going to behave like this. How depressingly moronic.
    We may know why they're building a "space ship".  Their HQ may be one of the largest mobile devices  :) .

    The FBI's actions are a repeat of the McCarthyism era - coercion, intimidation and deceit.
    designrnouserlordjohnwhorfinration alGot Truth?brakkentdknoxlostkiwi
  • Reply 20 of 82
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    designr said:
    And how would that stop them demanding the code?

    Not sure it can stop the demand, but it could provide legal protection from actually getting it. I'm not sure how international law handles these things.
    Unless it's covered by such treaties such a TTP. In this scenario I could see Apple having a bad time conducting business in the USA, but it won't get to that point either it goes through all the legal hurdles and Apple complies or Apple wins and nothing changes.
    nouserbaconstang
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