FBI chief continues his demand for law enforcement access to encrypted iPhones and other d...

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in General Discussion edited March 7
FBI Director Christopher Wray has continued his fight to make it easier to defeat the encryption-based security of devices like Apple's iPhone, declaring in a speech at Boston College that these security systems could be designed in a way to help law enforcement agencies, as well as updating laws to keep up with changes in technology.




Wray's speech on Wednesday touched on the subject of encryption systems used by Apple and other tech companies to protect the personal data of their users, highlighting that these same systems prevent law enforcement from gaining access, which Ars Technica reports the FBI refers to as the "Going Dark"problem.

In the 2017 fiscal year, Wray advises the FBI was unable to access data stored in 7,775 devices "using appropriate and available technical tools," despite having the legal authority to do so. "Each one of those nearly 78-hundred devices is tied to a specific subject, a specific defendant, a specific victim, a specific threat," Wray insists, calling this inability to access the data a "major public safety issue."

"Some have argued that having access to the content of communications isn't necessary - that we have plenty of other information available outside of our smartphones and our devices," Wray advises, noting this includes metadata from call and text message transactions. While he admits some information can be inferred from metadata, this is only partially useful, but to prevent attacks and to successfully arrest and prosecute criminals, "words can be evidence, while mere association between subjects really isn't."

Insisting the FBI is "on the front line fighting cyber crime and economic espionage," Wray adds the FBI "supports information security measures, including strong encryption," but to a point. "Information security programs need to be thoughtfully designed so they don't undermine the lawful tools we need to keep the American people safe."

The director claims to be open to constructive solutions to the Going Dark problem, asking for a thoughtful and sensible approach, but stresses "we need to work fast." The FBI is said to have people working with stakeholders on the issue, but Wray still wants to get the private sector's assistance, namely companies like Apple, Google, and other major privacy-centric firms.

"We need them to respond to lawfully issued court orders, in a way that is consistent with both the rule of law and strong cybersecurity," he suggests, insisting "we need to have both, and can have both." Despite the difficulty of coming up with ways to make such systems secure yet accessible by law enforcement - as insisted by Apple and others - Wray states "I just don't buy the claim that it's impossible."

Wray also called for lawmakers to change laws to keep pace with modern technology, complaining "in some ways it's as if we still had traffic laws that were written for the days of the horse-and-buggy." The FBI doesn't "simply need improved technical tools," he continues, "we also need legal clarifications to address gaps."

"Bottom line: We need to be a force of specialized, technically trained personnel that's cutting-edge, forward-leaning, and able to fully investigate and combat the diverse cyber threats."

The encryption debate between lawmakers, security agencies, tech companies, and interest groups has been going on for a number of years, but intensified following the San Bernardino investigation, when the FBI reportedly paid to have a suspect's iPhone 5c unlocked. Apple declined to follow demands to create a backdoor, as doing so for one would undermine security for millions of iOS devices worldwide, something Apple CEO Tim Cook at the time called "dangerous."

In an October 2017 speech, Wray called the lack of access a "huge, huge problem," claiming it "impacts investigations across the board - narcotics, human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation." In that speech, Wray admitted there needed to be a balance between providing law enforcement the tools and keeping devices secure.

Wray continued his demand in his second speech on the subject in his tenure as the head of the FBI in January, reiterating it was an "urgent public safety issue."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21

    Why don’t you (Mr. FBI) work on the low hanging fruit first?  And admit you’re nothing but a politician...


    The FBI were warned more than a month before the Florida school shooting that suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz had firearms and was “going to explode”.

    “I just think about it, you know, getting into a school and shooting the place up,” a caller told an FBI information line, according to a newly released transcript.

    Accused of killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Mr Cruz repeatedly appeared on authorities’ radar in the months before the massacre.

    The FBI has already admitted that it failed to investigate a warning that Mr Cruz had the capacity and will to cause bloodshed, a lapse that has led the Florida Governor, Rick Scott, to call for the FBI Director, Christopher Wray, to resign.

    mwhitemacseekerbaconstangairnerdjony0toysandme
  • Reply 2 of 21
    Looks like the Chinese government understood technology better than the FBI. China just requires a copy of every private key generated to be submitted to the government so the they can unlock everything at any time.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,902member
    but but...some vendors already knew how to break in iPhone lately...No?
    airnerdjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 21
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,902member
    Looks like the Chinese government understood technology better than the FBI. China just requires a copy of every private key generated to be submitted to the government so the they can unlock everything at any time.
    There is no key for iOS, dude. You got fed a lot of bs from internet bloggers.
    Soliairnerdmacseekerjony0toysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 21
    goofy1958goofy1958 Posts: 116member
    FBI Director Christopher Wray has continued his fight to make it easier to defeat the encryption-based security of devices like Apple's iPhone, declaring in a speech at Boston College that these security systems could be designed in a way to help law enforcement agencies

    And what happens when an FBI agent is offered 10million for the law enforcement key?  Does this idiot really think that only law enforcement will have access?  He really needs to pull his head out of his ass if he thinks it will be safe.
    baconstangjony0old-wizmike1toysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 21
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 554member
    FBI needs to get its own house in order before it worries about mine.  
    jony0toysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,059member
    The FBI can’t sift through the data they already have. They missed a kid on FB bragging he wanted to be a professional school shooter. The issue is not more data but better filtering of 5he tons of free data they already have access to.
    Amd yes, I see the depressed US kid talking on social media a bigger potential threat than the rare political terror suspect. Also, it is a chance to not just save the lives of dozens but the path of a single individual. 
    toysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    georgie01georgie01 Posts: 179member
    So he gave a speech of lies at a university. How ironic! Oh wait, that’s already been happening constantly.
    jony0airnerdold-wizmike1toysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,902member
    Isn’t the FBI an unconstitutional extralegal entity anyway? A former US President created this agency. It isn’t a branch of the military, it’s a secret unaccountable spy organization that answers to the office of the President. I think the so-called Founding Fathers would be horrified at what has become of the Federal government they imagined and they’d wonder why the citizenry hadn’t revolted.
    jony0airnerdold-wiztoysandme
  • Reply 10 of 21
    jony0jony0 Posts: 267member
    Wray states "I just don't buy the claim that it's impossible."
    Here we go again. AFAIK there has never ever been a "claim that it's impossible", ever.
    It is  obviously  "NOT TECHNICALLY IMPOSSIBLE" as it has been done before and currently.
    It is just simply "HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE" to keep the cat in the bag, or more precisely the KEY in the secret FBI bag. From SPAM to Identity theft to hacking to breaches, the human element is by far the weakest link in security. He is either an idiot or just the next in line after Comey to flout this same duplicitous and specious tripe to get their way.
    I'll say it again, I want law enforcement to have the best tools possible but not by putting everybody at risk, and after all :

         A policeman’s job is only easy in a police state — A line from Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil.

    Sorry about the caps, this revolving door just makes me dizzy and drives me nuts.

    edited March 7 baconstangtoysandmeSpamSandwich
  • Reply 11 of 21
    Freedom for me, but not for thee.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 12 of 21
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,194member
    goofy1958 said:
    FBI Director Christopher Wray has continued his fight to make it easier to defeat the encryption-based security of devices like Apple's iPhone, declaring in a speech at Boston College that these security systems could be designed in a way to help law enforcement agencies

    And what happens when an FBI agent is offered 10million for the law enforcement key?  Does this idiot really think that only law enforcement will have access?  He really needs to pull his head out of his ass if he thinks it will be safe.

    if he's so sure that it can be done then he should have some FBI tech geniuses write it. and then show Apple how easily it could be done and how totally secure it is. make it harder for them to claim it can't be done. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 13 of 21
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,194member

    \The FBI has already admitted that it failed to investigate a warning that Mr Cruz had the capacity and will to cause bloodshed, a lapse that has led the Florida Governor, Rick Scott, to call for the FBI Director, Christopher Wray, to resign.


    well yes they need to work on that as well. but the answer there might be a legal one. because apparently the local police got similar warnings and also ignored them. so make it illegal to ignore such things, even if you are sure its a prank. 
  • Reply 14 of 21
    LatkoLatko Posts: 122member
    Hi FBI, contact GreyShift, a company with "former Apple employees" on board to assist for $15k/phone
    edited March 8 jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 21
    Brucifer123Brucifer123 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
    old-wiztoysandmeSpamSandwichjony0
  • Reply 16 of 21
    old-wizold-wiz Posts: 194member
    A "secret" way for law enforcement to access iPhones would be found by hackers, thus defeating security.

    By the way, I don't trust the FBI - there is corruption scattered through the organization and I don't want to give them free reign over my iPhone.  I have nothing on it but family photos and some tax info, but there is no reason to give the FBI access - how would we know that their legal requests are real and not just an excuse to harass innocent people because they criticized the FBI or the government?  The federal spooks (FBI, CIA, NSA, ICE, and the rest) are turning into a US version of the Gestapo. They don't care if they get a wrong address, and burst in with a SWAT team and kill innocent people - to them it is not more than an "oops" and they get away with it every time, just like the police. Breaking down doors, shooting innocent people, searching without warrants are now acceptable police behavior anyway. 

    Sooner or later someone would discover or bribe an FBI agent for the secret way, and then there would be no security on phones at all.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,902member
    old-wiz said:
    A "secret" way for law enforcement to access iPhones would be found by hackers, thus defeating security.

    By the way, I don't trust the FBI - there is corruption scattered through the organization and I don't want to give them free reign over my iPhone.  I have nothing on it but family photos and some tax info, but there is no reason to give the FBI access - how would we know that their legal requests are real and not just an excuse to harass innocent people because they criticized the FBI or the government?  The federal spooks (FBI, CIA, NSA, ICE, and the rest) are turning into a US version of the Gestapo. They don't care if they get a wrong address, and burst in with a SWAT team and kill innocent people - to them it is not more than an "oops" and they get away with it every time, just like the police. Breaking down doors, shooting innocent people, searching without warrants are now acceptable police behavior anyway. 

    Sooner or later someone would discover or bribe an FBI agent for the secret way, and then there would be no security on phones at all.
    I don’t think you can lump ICE together with those other organizations. Federal immigration law is a different matter altogether.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    plovellplovell Posts: 784member
    Isn’t the FBI an unconstitutional extralegal entity anyway? A former US President created this agency. It isn’t a branch of the military, it’s a secret unaccountable spy organization that answers to the office of the President. I think the so-called Founding Fathers would be horrified at what has become of the Federal government they imagined and they’d wonder why the citizenry hadn’t revolted.
    I don't think that it does so any more (answers to the office of the President), much as though Trump believes strong that it does/should.

    Perhaps it did initially in the J. Edgar Hoover days, but now it answers through DoJ. 

    Somewhat related, given this year's events, the FBI Director has a fixed term - because: Hoover. It's five years and can be extended once. That means that Comes was not, as Trump claimed, "asking for his job" at their meeting early last year. He had tenure and, although Trump had the ability to fire him, that is not the normal thing for that position. The Director has the fixed tenure precisely to counter the political pressure that Trump applied.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    plovellplovell Posts: 784member
    steven n. said:
    The FBI can’t sift through the data they already have. They missed a kid on FB bragging he wanted to be a professional school shooter. The issue is not more data but better filtering of 5he tons of free data they already have access to.
    Amd yes, I see the depressed US kid talking on social media a bigger potential threat than the rare political terror suspect. Also, it is a chance to not just save the lives of dozens but the path of a single individual. 
    You make a good point. We have huge resources applied to detecting and preventing "terrorism" and yet law enforcement, both State and Federal, has routinely ignored the home-grown domestic terrorism that has become more common. 

    It's past time that that changed.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,902member
    plovell said:
    Isn’t the FBI an unconstitutional extralegal entity anyway? A former US President created this agency. It isn’t a branch of the military, it’s a secret unaccountable spy organization that answers to the office of the President. I think the so-called Founding Fathers would be horrified at what has become of the Federal government they imagined and they’d wonder why the citizenry hadn’t revolted.
    I don't think that it does so any more (answers to the office of the President), much as though Trump believes strong that it does/should.

    Perhaps it did initially in the J. Edgar Hoover days, but now it answers through DoJ. 

    Somewhat related, given this year's events, the FBI Director has a fixed term - because: Hoover. It's five years and can be extended once. That means that Comes was not, as Trump claimed, "asking for his job" at their meeting early last year. He had tenure and, although Trump had the ability to fire him, that is not the normal thing for that position. The Director has the fixed tenure precisely to counter the political pressure that Trump applied.
    I think valid criticisms of the agency extend far beyond the current president.
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