FBI should disclose iPhone vulnerability to Apple, Edward Snowden says

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Infamous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has once again weighed in on the Apple-FBI battle, this time saying that the bureau should disclose the vulnerability used to crack the San Bernardino iPhone in the interest of national cybersecurity.




Apple's attempts to compel disclosure through the court system are "proper," Snowden said during a debate hosted by NYU Wagner. His remarks were first noted by VentureBeat.

"When the FBI finds a case that is so exceptional that they have to break the security of the device to get in it, it merits these kinds of exceptional circumstances, they should try to do that," Snowden said. "At the same time, they should make sure they close the door behind them, so that the rest of us, whether we work at UNICEF or whether we work at Starbucks, are safe and don't face the same threats tomorrow."

The bureau revealed last week that it would not submit the method -- for which it paid approximately $1 million -- for review and possible disclosure by a federal panel. This has been widely panned by security advocates, including Snowden, who argue that the FBI has a responsibility to the public.

"They're not doing it to help [Apple], they're doing it to help the country, they're doing it to help everyone in America who uses those products, who uses those services," Snowden added.

Complicating matters is the fact that it's still unclear whether the FBI even knows what the exploit is, or if it has the legal right to disclose it. Even FBI Director James Comey is reportedly unaware of the identity of the group responsible for unlocking the device.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member
    I don't believe that Apple should be compelled to unlock a device or put a back door in for the FBI, or any other governmental organization. 

    Likewise the FBI should not feel compelled to share anything with Apple.

    Both Apple and the FBI have a responsibility to the public and I honestly feel that the closer they work together the worse off the public will be in the end.
  • Reply 2 of 19
    irelandireland Posts: 17,671member
    FBI like presidents are above the law these days anyway.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    NemWanNemWan Posts: 118member
    techlover said:
    I don't believe that Apple should be compelled to unlock a device or put a back door in for the FBI, or any other governmental organization. 

    Likewise the FBI should not feel compelled to share anything with Apple.

    Both Apple and the FBI have a responsibility to the public and I honestly feel that the closer they work together the worse off the public will be in the end.
    It's a shady situation when the FBI is prioritizing its reliance on a network of mercenary hackers, who may sell to foes as well as friends, over protecting everyone's data security. If the FBI pays for a hack it they should pay enough to take it off the market — use it on their case, then see it patched.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    techlover said:
    I don't believe that Apple should be compelled to unlock a device or put a back door in for the FBI, or any other governmental organization. 

    Likewise the FBI should not feel compelled to share anything with Apple.

    Both Apple and the FBI have a responsibility to the public and I honestly feel that the closer they work together the worse off the public will be in the end.
    the difference being, of course, the FBI is a public government body of the people for the people -- and corporations are people too. the FBI is and should always remain in a weaker position as it must serve the public good. if the US people decide our government should share discovered security vulnerabilities with the owners of that tech (which we have, which is why there is a White House public policy requiring this via a review board), then the FBI as a public servant must do so in the interest of the public.

    the FBI is not a business or citizen. it is a public servant that serves the interests of the public. we decide, it obeys.
    edited May 2016 techloverbadmonk
  • Reply 5 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member
    NemWan said:
    techlover said:
    I don't believe that Apple should be compelled to unlock a device or put a back door in for the FBI, or any other governmental organization. 

    Likewise the FBI should not feel compelled to share anything with Apple.

    Both Apple and the FBI have a responsibility to the public and I honestly feel that the closer they work together the worse off the public will be in the end.
    It's a shady situation when the FBI is prioritizing its reliance on a network of mercenary hackers, who may sell to foes as well as friends, over protecting everyone's data security. If the FBI pays for a hack it they should pay enough to take it off the market — use it on their case, then see it patched.
    Good luck with that one. We're talking about hackers, whether they are to be partially trusted or not. Selling the ability to illegally hack into someone's phone (see http://www.ncsl.org/research/telecommunications-and-information-technology/computer-hacking-and-unauthorized-access-laws.aspx for each state's penal codes relating to illegally hacking into computers) is also illegal so the FBI committed an illegal activity. It doesn't matter if they don't understand how it's done, all that matters is they paid for it, which means US taxpayers money is going to support the activities of designated thieves and criminals (yes, I know the CIA pays criminals all the time and I'm sure the FBI does as well but this activity doesn't justify continuing to do it). If you think a hacker would not try and resell a vulnerability, then you're not aware of who you're talking about. As far as using anything from a hacker, our government shouldn't do doing this and they know it but they don't care.

    The FBI has an obligation to the citizens of the United States and to the world to tell Apple about the vulnerability so they can fix it, but the FBI wants the vulnerability to be left unfixed so they can use it over and over again (on the one iPhone they said they were ONLY needing it for).
    badmonk
  • Reply 6 of 19
    eliangonzaleliangonzal Posts: 490member
    How about you return all that stuff you stole first, jackass? 

    Bib-dribble about the FBI all you want: Snowden is a thief safely ensconced in country that is your enemy, and whose acolytes keep moving the goal posts once none of them could explain how any of his theft directly impacted their Fourth Amendment rights. 
    spacekidapple v. samsung
  • Reply 7 of 19
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member
    NemWan said:
    techlover said:
    I don't believe that Apple should be compelled to unlock a device or put a back door in for the FBI, or any other governmental organization. 

    Likewise the FBI should not feel compelled to share anything with Apple.

    Both Apple and the FBI have a responsibility to the public and I honestly feel that the closer they work together the worse off the public will be in the end.
    It's a shady situation when the FBI is prioritizing its reliance on a network of mercenary hackers, who may sell to foes as well as friends, over protecting everyone's data security. If the FBI pays for a hack it they should pay enough to take it off the market — use it on their case, then see it patched.
    You make a very excellent point, and I had thought about that. And I don't completely disagree with you in the least.

    However the FBI has a responsibility to make sure their own contractors don't use the hack for nefarious purposes. Much like the Pentagon has a responsibility to make sure that its own contractors do the same.

    The FBI or any law enforcement should be doing it's own work, just as the Pentagon should be. This is obviously not always possible and weapons be they conventional in the form of guns and bombs, or unconventional in the form a hack can wind up in the wrong hands sometimes.

    I will roll the dice and take my chances that I am better off with a firewall between a company like Apple and the FBI. 

    I personally would prefer a world where the FBI or any other law enforcement agency and Apple or any other similar company do not work together.

    If the company the FBI used then turns around and uses the same hack for nefarious purposes, I blame the FBI, not Apple. The FBI should have been able to do the same thing in the first place in my opinion.

    Still you make an extremely valid point. It's not a cut and dry world we live in. This is not a simple matter to say the least. 
  • Reply 8 of 19
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member
    techlover said:
    I don't believe that Apple should be compelled to unlock a device or put a back door in for the FBI, or any other governmental organization. 

    Likewise the FBI should not feel compelled to share anything with Apple.

    Both Apple and the FBI have a responsibility to the public and I honestly feel that the closer they work together the worse off the public will be in the end.
    the difference being, of course, the FBI is a public government body of the people for the people -- and corporations are people too. the FBI is and should always remain in a weaker position as it must serve the public good. if the US people decide our government should share discovered security vulnerabilities with the owners of that tech (which we have, which is why there is a White House public policy requiring this via a review board), then the FBI as a public servant must do so in the interest of the public.

    the FBI is not a business or citizen. it is a public servant that serves the interests of the public. we decide, it obeys.
    Another good point. I only wish this is how it actually worked in reality.

    Still, plus 1 for wishful thinking.
    badmonk
  • Reply 9 of 19
    ration alration al Posts: 81member
    This has been a FBI PR clusterf*ck from the beginning.

    First they claim they don't how the firm they hired penetrated the iPhone and the method is a proprietary asset of the company. Then they offer to shop it around to local Attorneys General wanting to hack iPhones in other criminal cases. If the first claim is true, what is the evidentiary value of this in court if the defence cannot examine the method for accuracy and reliability? If the FBI is as ignorant about how the hack works as they claim, why would they allow an undocumented forensic tool access to an irreplaceable piece of evidence in a high-profile terrorism case?

    Johnathan Zdziarski makes the case for the FBI's reckless behaviour better than I can here:

    http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=6070
    steveh
  • Reply 10 of 19
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 195member
     Even FBI Director James Comey is reportedly unaware of the identity of the group responsible for unlocking the device.
    So our government is giving out money to anonymous groups? Or is it Anonymous? 
  • Reply 11 of 19
    So let me understand this: If one hires crooks to break security of say FBI infrastructure it will be crime, but when they break and do not want to collaborate to fix the gap openly while admitting it is ... what is it come again? Any elaborate phrase to naming this?
  • Reply 12 of 19
    mtbnut said:
     Even FBI Director James Comey is reportedly unaware of the identity of the group responsible for unlocking the device.
    So our government is giving out money to anonymous groups? Or is it Anonymous? 
    Sure. One can always say I paid someone to break it. I do not care maybe it was foreign government that is in industrial intelligence to control the US economy, but I do care about only my objective which is my own suspicions. Very wsorhtsighted and dangerous view.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,763member
    Why can't white-hat hackers go after the exploits uncovered by the gray-hat, pro-government surveillance state hackers and provide the answer to Apple?
  • Reply 14 of 19
    spacekidspacekid Posts: 172member
    Why can't white-hat hackers go after the exploits uncovered by the gray-hat, pro-government surveillance state hackers and provide the answer to Apple?
    Because Apple doesn't want to pay for anyone to find faults?
  • Reply 15 of 19
    Why to people glorify this guy so much. He had proper whistle blower channels that he failed to use and most importantly his word is worthless. As an adult you sign a contract you stick to it. I don't like people who break contracts it makes me uneasy. Yes he spread light on bad going ons but none the less he is a piece of shit and should be held accountable for his crimes.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 3,392member
    Why to people glorify this guy so much. He had proper whistle blower channels that he failed to use and most importantly his word is worthless. As an adult you sign a contract you stick to it. I don't like people who break contracts it makes me uneasy. Yes he spread light on bad going ons but none the less he is a piece of shit and should be held accountable for his crimes.


    Sounds like the perfect recipe for an Oliver Stone film....

  • Reply 17 of 19
    studiomusicstudiomusic Posts: 614member
    Why to people glorify this guy so much. He had proper whistle blower channels that he failed to use and most importantly his word is worthless. As an adult you sign a contract you stick to it. I don't like people who break contracts it makes me uneasy. Yes he spread light on bad going ons but none the less he is a piece of shit and should be held accountable for his crimes.
    Do you think the proper whistle-blower channels would have let any of the real bad stuff out into the open? Sometimes you need to go outside of the rules to show that the game is rigged.
    And yes, you get punished for going outside of the rules. He would have been dead long ago in the not too distant past.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    CMA102DLCMA102DL Posts: 121member
    The US Govt is a knowledge black hole. We are overdue for another big leak of NSA, FBI and CIA classified information.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,792member
    How about you return all that stuff you stole first, jackass? 

    Bib-dribble about the FBI all you want: Snowden is a thief safely ensconced in country that is your enemy, and whose acolytes keep moving the goal posts once none of them could explain how any of his theft directly impacted their Fourth Amendment rights. 
    He has returned all the stuff he "stole" (from the people who stole it)! He's handed the information over to journalists, who are returning it to the people, to whom it belongs.
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