Manhattan DA calls on US Congress to support bill requiring mandatory decryption

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The District Attorney of New York County is reportedly lobbying members of U.S. Congress in the hope they'll back legislation requiring companies like Apple to decrypt data on-demand following court orders.




"What we're doing is talking to political leaders, to try and convince them that they should address this [encryption issue] with federal legislation. I think that has to be the solution," Cyrus Vance told a crowd at the non-governmental Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on Wednesday night, according to BuzzFeed News.

Vance claimed that the strong encryption used in platforms like Apple's iOS 9 and Facebook's WhatsApp creates "warrant-proof devices," in which criminals can act without being worried about government surveillance.

"We now live in a world where we are not getting all the facts," Vance continued. "Many of the facts are on smartphones, because criminals, just like you and me, have moved off paper and onto digital devices."

The district attorney said that his office has 230 Apple devices it can't break into, tied to crimes such as murder and child abuse, and argued that law enforcement should be able to search encrypted devices in the same way police can gain rights to go through cars, homes, and safety deposit boxes.

His stance met with opposition at the CFR event however, including from Adam Segal, director of the organization's digital efforts, who pointed out that a U.S. ban on strong encryption wouldn't stop the technology from being developed elsewhere.

Former Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff argued that the current encryption debate is just the most recent "species of a problem" involving law enforcement's need to gather evidence.

"Maybe it should be impossible to delete your email," Chertoff commented. "Maybe there should be a rule that you can never shred a piece of paper."

Segal worried that a future terrorist attack could potentially lead to dangerously rushed laws on the matter, which Vance then suggested was a reason for tech companies and legislators to work on laws now instead.

A draft decryption bill proposed by U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, has been strongly opposed by both tech corporations and civil liberties organizations worried that the bill would effectively force the creation of backdoors and expose the public to hackers, criminals, and/or spy agencies, whether foreign or domestic. Some companies -- particularly Apple -- have taken to marketing privacy and security as core features.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    IanSIanS Posts: 32member
    If Apple can decrypt it anyone can, do they not get that? Or do they just not care?
    mike1monstrosityronntdknoxbaconstangewtheckmananton zuykovicoco3stevehration al
  • Reply 2 of 38
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,475member
    Yes, Your Honor, we'll get a computer started right away on the job of decrypting that iPhone! We'll report back to you in 10 millennia with the results.
    mike1tallest skilanton zuykovbadmonk
  • Reply 3 of 38
    lord amhranlord amhran Posts: 902member
    It's called getting a warrant you asshole. Get one of those and THEN come talk to Apple about decrypting the phone. And while you're at it, try reading the Bill of Rights.
    tallest skilronnbadmonk
  • Reply 4 of 38
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 601member
    I've yet to see a tv ad marketing strong encryption 
    chasm
  • Reply 5 of 38
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,721member
    The DA for Wall Street wants to ban encryption.

    Think about that..
    bdkennedy1002stevehration al
  • Reply 6 of 38
    IanS said:
    If Apple can decrypt it anyone can, do they not get that? Or do they just not care?
    or better still if apple can't decrepit it neither can anyone else. They apparently don't understand strong encryption at all, let alone the fact that Apple not having strong encryption doesn't mean it won't exist. There have been and will be plenty of options available to "terrorist and criminals". The only thing that would be motivation for breaking Apple's encryption (and/ or encryption of other large companies) would be to spy on every day citizens. Criminals will go elsewhere and do other things to prevent from being spied upon, if they aren't already. I mean what criminal would honestly believe you can use a phone and text or email not be tracked? It would seem obvious that you'd avoid electronic communications in general if you are a criminal. 

    LOL this was my favorite line from the article... "Maybe it should be impossible to delete your email," Chertoff commented. "Maybe there should be a rule that you can never shred a piece of paper." I have to find the exact quote in context, because I'm not sure f he's serious or not. Either way ROFLMAO That's the funniest suggestion for either side of the argument I've heard.
  • Reply 7 of 38
    hungeduhungedu Posts: 15member
    I see all major tech companies like Apple moving to offshore havens at some future point to avoid the legal hassles of developing police states like the U.S.
    chasmlostkiwiSpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 38
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 895member

    i didn't know that iPhones committed crimes? Maybe every door in every building should have has a master key held by law enforcement? Where does it end? Maybe put more effort into old school police and detective work instead of putting all users of technology at risk. 
    baconstanghungedu
  • Reply 9 of 38
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,473member
    Why do these guys still think that Apple can decrypt it?   Don't they understand that Apple can't decrypt it - that the best they can do is create a new operating system that removes the limitation on the number of password tries and that they would be under no obligation to do that.

    I know these law enforcement and political people are idiots, but maybe Apple has got to do a better job of explaining to them that it's not that simple. 


    hungedu
  • Reply 10 of 38
    dachardachar Posts: 330member
    I remember a few years ago in a block of flats where I used to live and was on the management committee the caretaker, who was an ex Policeman, was serious about his idea that all resident should wear ID cards all the time! This is how the Police mind works. They have no understanding of what reasonable ordinary people feel is a liberty.
    baconstangewtheckmanchasmlostkiwihungeduration al
  • Reply 11 of 38
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,709member
    Perhaps the DA should have a master key to his house given to a reputable locksmith. Nothing bad can happen, right?
    ai46
  • Reply 12 of 38
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,074member
    "We now live in a world where we are not getting all the facts," He's absolutely correct. The problem is we aren't getting any facts from law enforcement but that doesn't seem to bother these people. It's always a one way street. 

    It's time for a national referendum legalizing encryption. Congress isn't going to help us so we have to help ourselves. 
    baconstanganton zuykovration al
  • Reply 13 of 38
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,074member
    IanS said:
    If Apple can decrypt it anyone can, do they not get that? Or do they just not care?
    LOL this was my favorite line from the article... "Maybe it should be impossible to delete your email," Chertoff commented. "Maybe there should be a rule that you can never shred a piece of paper." I have to find the exact quote in context, because I'm not sure f he's serious or not. Either way ROFLMAO That's the funniest suggestion for either side of the argument I've heard.
    I believe he was being sarcastic. He's upset with police constantly complaining about their inability to do anything.
    baconstangsteveh
  • Reply 14 of 38
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    spliff monkey said:

     They apparently don't understand strong encryption at all, let alone the fact that Apple not having strong encryption doesn't mean it won't exist. There have been and will be plenty of options available to "terrorist and criminals". 
    Not sure if it is still possible to jailbreak the current version iOS, but that would be the only way that a developer could encrypt the entire phone. They could probably encrypt their own app on a non-jailbroken phone as long as it complied with all the other Apple requirements for the App Store.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 274member
    The district attorney said that his office has 230 Apple devices it can't break into, tied to crimes such as murder and child abuse, and argued that law enforcement should be able to search encrypted devices in the same way police can gain rights to go through cars, homes, and safety deposit boxes.
    They do actually have the same ability to search encrypted devices as homes and safe deposit boxes. If you don't give the police the key to your door, a warrant gives them the authority to break the door down. The analogous situation would be giving the police the power to break the encryption through brute force attack.

    Part of the problem is that many of these law enforcement representatives don't seem to understand mathematics or computer decision making. Encryption is math. As I have recently become fond of saying, 2+2=4, regardless of whether you believe in truth, justice, and the American way. The computer can only differentiate between people who have the owner's authenticating token (passcode) and people who don't. It can't tell if a person who doesn't is a mugger or a cop. It can't tell if someone with the token is the legitimate owner or not, either.

    A few years ago, when the various attorneys general asked Apple and others to render phones useless to people who are not the owner, this was the only possible result. If you make it possible for a cop who is not the owner of the device to access it, you also make it possible for a mugger who is not the owner to access it in the same way.

    Going back to the analogy of searching a home, I wonder how the law deals with devices that burn documents when they detect unauthorized entry. Those same methods could potentially be applied to people who use the automatic wipe of the device after X incorrect passcode tries.
    latifbpgunner1954
  • Reply 16 of 38
    Ridiculous. 

    The he government needs a warrant to get me to open my door for a search. They will need a warrant to get me to open my phone. 

    My but I don't have to give the government the key for coded notes I wrote. 

    I I won't give the key for digital files either. 
    latifbpsteveh
  • Reply 17 of 38
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    While they're at it why don't they lobby to make it illegal for two individuals to meet and talk. People can talk about criminal activities off any record, and that's how they often do this type of business as it stands anyway.
    baconstang
  • Reply 18 of 38
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    zimmie said:
    The district attorney said that his office has 230 Apple devices it can't break into, tied to crimes such as murder and child abuse, and argued that law enforcement should be able to search encrypted devices in the same way police can gain rights to go through cars, homes, and safety deposit boxes.
    They do actually have the same ability to search encrypted devices as homes and safe deposit boxes. If you don't give the police the key to your door, a warrant gives them the authority to break the door down. The analogous situation would be giving the police the power to break the encryption through brute force attack.

    Part of the problem is that many of these law enforcement representatives don't seem to understand mathematics or computer decision making. Encryption is math. As I have recently become fond of saying, 2+2=4, regardless of whether you believe in truth, justice, and the American way. The computer can only differentiate between people who have the owner's authenticating token (passcode) and people who don't. It can't tell if a person who doesn't is a mugger or a cop. It can't tell if someone with the token is the legitimate owner or not, either.

    A few years ago, when the various attorneys general asked Apple and others to render phones useless to people who are not the owner, this was the only possible result. If you make it possible for a cop who is not the owner of the device to access it, you also make it possible for a mugger who is not the owner to access it in the same way.

    Going back to the analogy of searching a home, I wonder how the law deals with devices that burn documents when they detect unauthorized entry. Those same methods could potentially be applied to people who use the automatic wipe of the device after X incorrect passcode tries.
    The analogy to what the bonehead you responded to would be going to the door company or lock company to help the police gain entry. Said door/lock companies are PRIVATE COMPANIES and forcing private companies to unlock the locks they designed and sell is not how the police gain entry even with a warrant.
  • Reply 19 of 38
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,649member
    Can AI at least stop lying about "marketing" strong encryption?? It has *never* been mentioned in any print or TV ad, store campaign, or any other bit of "marketing" I've seen. It is listed as a feature, obviously, and Cook has spoken about it when asked -- but is that really "marketing?" Your use of this fallacious phrase makes it sound like Apple isn't sincere about it, it's just a trending feature that they use to bludgeon their competitors. That's simply not the case, and AI shouldn't be misleading readers like that.
    rhoninpalomine
  • Reply 20 of 38
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    How the frack do you do that?
    They want all financial transactions to be sent in a way that can be compromised at any time?
    They want an universal key for all encryption in every app, tunnel and OS?
    They want to make the use of encryption without that universal key illegal?

    Is the War on encryption going to fill prisons left vacant after the war on drugs has been declared moronic?

    Why not another useless "war".!

    That's a totally garbage declaration; up there with demanding a mandatory lobotomy.
    edited May 2016 baconstang
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