US lawmakers ask FBI director to explain decision to take Apple to court

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 13
A bipartisan group within the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Friday, looking for answers on why the agency took Apple to court to unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook.




The group consists of five Republicans and five Democrats, who expressed concerns about a recent report from the Office of the Inspector General which found the FBI didn't exhaust all options before making demands from Apple, Reuters said. The FBI may have skipped alternatives "precisely because they wanted the suit against Apple to go forward," the letter suggested.

Moreover, the people argued, stories about unlock tools from firms such as Cellebrite and GrayShift -- which may now be relatively commonplace -- could put a lie to FBI claims that communications are "going dark" to law enforcement and spy agencies. The FBI states that it has about 7,800 devices it can't break into because of encryption, and some officials have regularly pushed for laws that would force tech companies to create backdoors.

In the San Bernardino case, Apple argued that the FBI and Justice Department were demanding just such a backdoor in iOS and stretching beyond their legal authority. That, Apple continued, would fundamentally weaken the security of its products, opening them up not just to legal searches but malicious hackers and governments, including mass surveillance programs.

Apple said it sent information to the FBI three days after the attack by Farook and his wife. The Bureau ultimately cracked Farook's iPhone 5c by paying for unspecified outside help, which prompted it to drop legal action, but found nothing of direct value.

The letter to Wray also asks whether the FBI is consulting third parties to break into iPhones, and if not, why. Likewise, lawmakers are wondering how many of the locked phones in its possession have data that could alternately be accessed through the cloud. That issue is particularly relevant in Apple's situation, since it regularly turns over iCloud data when served with a warrant or national security letter.

Some data may still require local access, since many apps from Apple and others now use end-to-end encryption that makes content opaque, even to an app's developers.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,800member
    What with all of the FBI revelations of the last several decades, it's clear they are an unconstitutional and extralegal agency and they should be shut down.
    jason leavittMuntztallest skilbuzdotsicoco3
  • Reply 2 of 16
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,684member
    What with all of the FBI revelations of the last several decades, it's clear they are an unconstitutional and extralegal agency and they should be shut down.
    I bet I could peg the exact moment you decided the FBI (and the media) were evil entities.
    OferlarryaAlex1NblastdoorStrangeDaysbaconstangjony0adm1bshank
  • Reply 3 of 16
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,800member
    Soli said:
    What with all of the FBI revelations of the last several decades, it's clear they are an unconstitutional and extralegal agency and they should be shut down.
    I bet I could peg the exact moment you decided the FBI (and the media) were evil entities.
    When J Edgar Hoover took over. History tells us everything about this agency and the vast majority of it is not good. 
    Muntzanton zuykovSpamSandwichStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 4 of 16
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,800member
    rob53 said:
    Soli said:
    What with all of the FBI revelations of the last several decades, it's clear they are an unconstitutional and extralegal agency and they should be shut down.
    I bet I could peg the exact moment you decided the FBI (and the media) were evil entities.
    When J Edgar Hoover took over. History tells us everything about this agency and the vast majority of it is not good. 
    Yep.
    longpathbuzdots
  • Reply 5 of 16
    irelandireland Posts: 17,008member
    Because they wanted to win the case and legally invade the privacy of every iPhone owner on earth. And if they were losing they would just drop the case. Either way they’ll get away with this with at most a little slap on the wrist for some decision makers. I’d elaborate further, but you know, there’s a freedom of speech restriction around here.
    edited April 13 tallest skillongpath
  • Reply 6 of 16
    The FBI should be disbanded .
    tallest skillongpathSpamSandwich
  • Reply 7 of 16
    muaddibmuaddib Posts: 37member
    Wray should place the blame on Comey, tell them to go ask him.
    mwhitebuzdots
  • Reply 8 of 16
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,800member
    muaddib said:
    Wray should place the blame on Comey, tell them to go ask him.
    It’s not one person it’s the mentality of the entire organization and the shift to a militaristic government especially with the creation of the DHS. We’re supposed to be a peaceful democracy but we can never quite get there. 
    longpathbaconstang
  • Reply 9 of 16
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,841member
    rob53 said:
    When J Edgar Hoover took over.
    I’ll give him one thing: if anyone was able to authoritatively make this quote, it was him.
    The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst. It rejects even the assumption that human creatures could espouse a philosophy which must ultimately destroy all that is good and decent.


    Alex1Nlongpath
  • Reply 10 of 16
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,780member
    The FBI should be disbanded .
    I don't agree with that. There are real, legitimate law enforcement and national security needs that need to be met and the FBI exists to meet those needs. The FBI, and the federal government in general, needs to be made more effective, more accountable, more professional. 

    I certainly don't agree with the FBI's position and actions when it comes to information security, but that just means that we need a better FBI, not no FBI. 

    Congress needs to pass legislation to prioritize the protection of the privacy and security of people's personal information. When FBI directors are nominated, Congress needs to make sure that the nominee understands the importance of protecting the privacy and security of people's personal information. 
    baconstang
  • Reply 11 of 16
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,800member
    rob53 said:
    When J Edgar Hoover took over.
    I’ll give him one thing: if anyone was able to authoritatively make this quote, it was him.
    The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst. It rejects even the assumption that human creatures could espouse a philosophy which must ultimately destroy all that is good and decent.


    The problem with this quote was Hoover was describing himself when talking about the evil in our midst that leads to the destruction of all that is good. 
  • Reply 12 of 16
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,841member
    rob53 said:
    The problem with this quote was Hoover was describing himself…
    I don’t see how that’s a problem. He was actually talking about communism, but even if he was talking about the US government at the time (*cough*…), him being on record saying it is still useful to people.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    buzdotsbuzdots Posts: 430member
    Soli said:
    What with all of the FBI revelations of the last several decades, it's clear they are an unconstitutional and extralegal agency and they should be shut down.
    I bet I could peg the exact moment you decided the FBI (and the media) were evil entities.
    About 1963.  Had you been born then?
    BUT... back then you could almost count on news reporting to be just that - minus adjectives.
    edited April 14
  • Reply 14 of 16
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,368member
    “Because...reasons.”
  • Reply 15 of 16
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,368member
    The FBI should be disbanded .
    “Shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”
    SpamSandwichtallest skil
  • Reply 16 of 16
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,800member
    The FBI should be disbanded .
    “Shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”
    The money is long gone, but I agree with the other part.
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