U.S. Attorney General voices concern over Apple's iOS 8 security features

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder is the latest government official to come down on new mobile OS security features from Apple and Google that make unlocking a smartphone nearly impossible, even for law enforcement agencies.



During a speech in front of the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online on Tuesday, Holder criticized Apple's iOS 8 device encryption for essentially being too secure, saying officers who require access to an iPhone should have a way in, reports Reuters.

Wary of stronger iOS 8 passcode protection, and an upcoming implementation in Google's Android, Holder implied that a middle ground can be reached between government access and device security without impinging on public privacy.

"It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy," Holder said.

Apple says it no longer holds encryption keys for devices running iOS 8, meaning the only way to gain access to a locked iPhone or iPad would be through the passcode holder. This complicates things for law enforcement agencies wanting to gain access to a suspect's smartphone, even if the proper warrants and documentation are supplied.

In time sensitive cases, such as kidnappings, an iPhone's data could help find and save the lives of potential victims, Holder said. For example, call history, geo-location tags, emails, contact lists and more can be locked away on a suspect's handset. Data stored in iCloud can still be tapped for warranted search, but results would vary depending on a user's sync settings.

Holder's comments come one week after FBI Director James Comey said unbreakable encryption could one day pose a threat to national security. Comey also used the kidnapping analogy, saying, "I'd hate to have people look at me and say, 'Well how come you can't save this kid,' 'how come you can't do this thing.'"
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Ah, don't worry about it. Android phones added together outsell iPhones, and not only does Android have lots of malware and keyloggers available, but only a small fraction of Android users have the benefit of the latest OS version anyway :p
  • Reply 2 of 82

    Doesn’t matter.

     

    image

  • Reply 3 of 82
    If the US government hadn't massively overstepped its bounds already, some people might trust their "middle ground." That trust has evaporated after Snowden's damning revelations. Holder is the chief law enforcement officer in the US government, and he collaborated with the national security state while NSA staffers swapped naked pics of Americans. He has zero credibility when it comes to the Constitution and the law, in my opinion.
  • Reply 4 of 82
    If he is upset about it, then I am positively giddy. He can die in a fire. He is the most worthless AG we have ever had. Here is a clue, you guys work for US!! Remember that thing called the Constitution you took an oath to uphold and protect?
  • Reply 5 of 82
    What they are all upset about is that they can not get access to my device without my consent. What a shocking concept. Guess what, you don't have my consent to my data and my life.
  • Reply 6 of 82
    This complicates things for law enforcement agencies wanting to gain access to a suspect's smartphone, even if the proper warrants and documentation are supplied pose a threat to national security.

    I can't believe I'm even saying this, but I actually agree. If the proper warrents are issued, I believe authorities ought to have a way to access a suspect's data. But Only if a warrent is issued. Otherwise, somebody get Mr. Holder and the head of the FBI a violin. lol.
  • Reply 7 of 82

    Eric Holder stated today that he wants a way for law enforcement to access your brain memories. "Your brain is just too secure" said Holder. "There has to be a way for government to tap into your very thoughts while still maintaining a reasonable amount of privacy for the victim...errr citizen." As a result, Holder is proposing a new law requiring God himself to ensure that he provides backdoor access to the thoughts of all humans.....with a warrant of course.

  • Reply 8 of 82
    winchester wrote: »
    I can't believe I'm even saying this, but I actually agree. If the proper warrents are issued, I believe authorities ought to have a way to access a suspect's data. But Only if a warrent is issued. Otherwise, somebody get Mr. Holder and the FBI a violin. lol.

    Even if a warrant is issue, that is for the physical device. Because of the fifth amendment I don't have to do or reveal anything that might be considered self-incrimination. That's what they are afraid of. The moment anyone is served a warrant of any kind, they should immediately invoke the right to remain silent, the fifth amendment, and seek legal counsel. Even if you are innocent, you do have something to fear with this current government. As much as it truly pains me to say that.
  • Reply 9 of 82
    Eric Holder stated today that he wants a way for law enforcement to access your brain memories. "Your brain is just too secure" said Holder. "There has to be a way for government to tap into your very thoughts while still maintaining a reasonable amount of privacy for the victim...errr citizen." As a result, Holder is proposing a new law requiring God himself to ensure that he provides backdoor access to the thoughts of all humans.....with a warrant of course.

    This would be damn funny if it was not so close to the truth of the matter.
  • Reply 10 of 82

    I wonder Holder thinks the protesters in Hong Kong have a right to privacy from the Chinese government?

  • Reply 11 of 82
    I wonder Holder thinks the protesters in Hong Kong have a right to privacy from the Chinese government?

    I would guess not. This administration has been no friend to liberty, freedom, and democracy.
  • Reply 12 of 82
    chasmchasm Posts: 993member
    The director of the FBI and now the Attorney General of the United States are either stupid or flat-out lying. Forensic decryption tools have existed and continue to exist, and are in use on a routine basis. This may come as a shock, but some criminals are kind of smart and already use encryption to protect themselves. In fact, Apple has offered HD encryption for over a decade. Is your mind blown yet?

    What this move by Apple and now others does is make it harder for police/government to ABUSE your rights. It doesn't stop them from getting to your data if they have good reason to believe they need it. They'll use exactly the same tools they do now. It's just that from now on they'll actually have to need a good reason and a real determination to do the work necessary to justify using them.

    Oh boo hoo hoo.
  • Reply 13 of 82
    jonyojonyo Posts: 115member

    Any time someone says some equivalent to "think of the children!" as a bullet point in their argument, I know that the rest of what comes out their mouth is some sort of fear mongering bullshit trying to convince me to give up my freedoms for some sense of security or safety. My data is my data. If you have a warrant to get at it, then you can take my device and do your best. But if I want to use crazy strong crypto to keep it from you, that's what I'm going to do, and too damn bad for you.

     

    Same goes for Apple, if they want to offer me a product with the ability to protect my data, and I want to buy it, the government should not have any right to interfere with that product's development, that purchase by me the citizen, and my actions of protecting my data.

  • Reply 14 of 82
    Eric Holder and the Justice Department and the NSA, CIA, and FBI were the ones at fault for VIOLATING people's constitutional right to privacy.

    Violating EVERYONE's rights outweighs whatever data is in any single iPhone.

    Apple has imply placed the power of encryption on the consumer. That's all.

    And in countries with oppressive regimes like China, the consumers there will rejoice Apple's iPhone.
  • Reply 15 of 82
    The US Constitution's 5th Amendment says that you have a right to remain silent. You don't have to incriminate yourself.

    The iPhone's encryption is the expression of this right. Period.

    Anyone using the iPhone's encryption automatically is making a statement of their 5th amendment rights.
  • Reply 16 of 82
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    Gee, FBI Director James Comey, if you are sorry worried about people not being able to get access to your data if you get lost, maybe you could tell your spouse your PIN.  Or we could weaken the privacy of everyone.  Either way, I guess.  What a couple of maroons.

  • Reply 17 of 82
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RORWessels View Post



    If he is upset about it, then I am positively giddy. He can die in a fire. He is the most worthless AG we have ever had. Here is a clue, you guys work for US!! Remember that thing called the Constitution you took an oath to uphold and protect?



    Any AG since Nixon's Mitchell would have voiced the same concern.   While holder's worth to you is debatable, this specific reason isn't a differentiator.

     

    I sat in an Interop presentation and watched Phil Zimmerman 'explain'  why DOJ/FBI/ATF were at all the exits (because 256 bit encryption was considered in the same export class as plutonium to the GHWBush Administration) as he explained his plans for PGP public key rings in 1992.

    The Gov't was concerned that non US citizens may try to contact Phil while presenting at Interop.  Yep.  He was effectively under house arrest.  And in 1992, it was the 3rd year of such harassment (he was one of the first on a no-fly list).  Their concern was that the 'technology' would be  exported to non American people, who the US limited to using 56 bit DES or 64 bit RSA.  Yes.  You could not have an encrypted conversation with a non-US citizen beyond what the NSA could effectively rainbow table.  Doing so made you considered a spy or helping enemies of the state.

     

    iPhones are even more evil as FaceTime audio is P2P encrypted and bypasses the cell companies (another NSA choke point).   The fact that Apple has reinforced to a 'people own their device and their data' is a great thing.

     

    Now if Apple would just integrate TOR into Safari 'private browsing'   That would really piss the the gov't off 

  • Reply 18 of 82

    The US's CALEA act is worth review.  This act of congress was passed in the 1994 and made stronger all during the Clinton Administration.  (Apple Director, Al Gore probably knows about this law.) 

     

    This act of congress is already in place and there's possibly an applicable case law worth review.  Back in the late 1990s, one local US telephone company, called "Qwest" was unable to provide lawful intercept capability to the Government under the 1994 act of congress.

     

    Most likely, the reason for secrecy was related to financial crimes he was committing.  Ultimately, the CEO of the company was found guilty, and served time in jail.  As for the company, well, following a change in leadership, Qwest became compliant with the US law. 

     

    When your a company like Apple, and your company is based on a culture of secrecy, including mistrust of the US Government, and willful and wanton desire to forgo paying US taxes, it's certainly worth additional study.

     

    In that particular case, the company's CEO is, and always will be, a convicted felon who was found guilty by a layperson jury, not the government.   Time Magazing ranked the CEO #5 in a top-ten list of the "Most crooked CEOs of All Time".

     

    It seems Apple is speeding down the same path.

  • Reply 19 of 82
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    In time sensitive cases, such as kidnappings, an iPhone's data could help find and save the lives of potential victims, Holder said. For example, call history, geo-location tags, emails, contact lists and more can be locked away on a suspect's handset. Data stored in iCloud can still be tapped for warranted search, but results would vary depending on a user's sync settings.



    Holder's comments come one week after FBI Director James Comey said unbreakable encryption could one day pose a threat to national security. Comey also used the kidnapping analogy, saying, "I'd hate to have people look at me and say, 'Well how come you can't save this kid,' 'how come you can't do this thing.'"

    -> http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/337324/if-it-saves-one-life-charles-c-w-cooke

  • Reply 20 of 82
    Can't they just waterboard the suspect until he gives up the pass code to his phone?
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