Billionaire Mark Cuban says Apple deserves a 'standing ovation' for fighting FBI on encryption

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 50
    Apple should stand firm on this. As should any smart phone manufacturer (because it wouldn't stop with Apple.) First off Apple is speaking for all of us iPhone users who are not willing to give up our right to privacy and to have all of our data protected. Secondly - Force Apple to create something that doesn't exist? And even if Apple can - who says it can be forced onto a locked iPhone? I know I can't even update an app through iTunes on my Mac unless the phone is unlocked. Next - The government is not asking for something to be used on that particular phone only; they want a digital key to get into any iPhone any time they so desire. That is an absolute no-no! And let's say they somehow through the courts get their way - all our rights get violated, Apple actually can produce the product, it can be forced onto a locked iPhone, the government from there on in can get into any iPhone at any time, there may be something worth knowing on that phone or not - and the next time a terrorist is about to go down or be arrested, the last thing he/she does is putting a couple of bullets through their iPhone. Then what? We'll have done all of that for nothing positive in return, but all the negative will go on to exist.
  • Reply 22 of 50
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    Distant Relation said:

    The real question is, "can it be done". Apple is no more capable than anyone else when it comes to breaking strong encryption. The court may not order Apple to cease using strong encryption because it cannot produce a key. That's an entirely different situation. The proposal Cuban makes assumes some sort of capability to perform the operation of breaking into the phone under the conditions described (and I won't bother critiquing those conditions), but it can't be done under any conditions if strong encryption is used.
    I agree with this. In the past Apple has said in court filings that even they cannot break the encryption. Furthermore, although I don't know much about the inner workings of iOS, I fail to understand how they can load special software on to this particular iPhone if it is locked, at least not while preserving the data. That is something that should not be possible because if it was, Apple would have been deceitful when describing the security aspects of iOS.
    magman1979
  • Reply 23 of 50
    The real question is, "can it be done". Apple is no more capable than anyone else when it comes to breaking strong encryption. {snip}

    The courts may order Apple to break into an iPhone, but they can't make the order possible any more than they can order Pi to be equal to 3. The real question is, can they make strong encryption illegal? {snip}
    Your first question is correct but I think you're looking at the wrong problem.  As you said, Apple is no more capable at breaking strong encryption. My understanding is that the government is trying to compel Apple to create a one-off version of iOS for that phone with automatic wipe disabled so that the FBI can try to break the encryption. Apple has not suggested that this is impossible, they only claim that they would have to create it.  Of course, once it exists, governments around the world will work to obtain it one way or another.

    Your second real question is whether the government can make strong encryption illegal.  It was illegal to export strong encryption until 1992-2000.  That's why early web browsers had export versions with weaker encryption.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_of_cryptography_from_the_United_States  Some of our elected officials have proposed making the iPhone encryption illegal.  Can they do it?  Why not? 
  • Reply 24 of 50
    But the deceased are protected by copyright laws, no?   (As in "life of author + 70 years [or 90+ for corporations]).
    This is enforced by Facebook at least for "memorialized" pages.   Aside from conflict of laws, this whole debacle
    reminds me of the scene in Dr. Strangelove where Jack D. Ripper admonished "If you do that, you'll have
    to answer to the Coca Cola company!"
  • Reply 25 of 50
    In the matter of the FBI compelling Apple to de-securitize phones, everyone who owns a gun might become a mass shooter and there are frequently more victims of mass shootings than victims of terrorism. So perhaps the FBI should have day-to-day access to all gun owners phones. Just a suggestion. My fear is that FBI has picked an extreme case they think they can win but in fact it is the foot in the door. However, if we can get the gun lobby fired up, so to speak, there will be a far better chance of protecting privacy. My second thought is that if the FBI prevails, everyone will need an uncrackable password, which is going to waste an inordinate amount of time. Perhaps the solution will be to use a user selected combination from: pass code, fingerprint, iris print, picture codes, and a spoken command for speech pattern recognition. Users pick the combination of codes and their sequence. Let's see if NSA or FBI can crack that.
    Jester I think you had the thread there for a moment then wandered at the end. The only way the FBI can get Apple to comply is for Apple to stop using strong encryption. After that your choice of passwords is sort of irrelevant.

    I think you're right to compare this situation with gun rights; both are Constitutional issues. The government realize this too, and want to make sure citizens don't have access to military grade encryption, just as they want to ensure citizens don't have access to military grade weapons. I think you can be certain that any law passed will not effect government use of encryption, the assumption of course being that members of the US government are "different" from citizens, which itself is a violation of "government by and for the people" that's been going on for decades. There should be no doubt that not only are members of the government in a different class than citizens, there are different classes within the government itself. Of course that entire practice is unconstitutional but it's been allowed so long the concept is entrenched and will be very difficult to remove.

    I suspect Tim Cook has a few sharp lawyers on his staff and that he knows this is a situation wherein the court is trying to make law rather than enforce it. There's no existing law prohibiting the use of strong encryption, so what the court is asking isn't legal. If Cook were to comply it could set a weak precedent so it's good for him to refuse.

    Congress makes law, not the judiciary. The courts may order Cook to open the phone, but they can't order Cook to make it possible to open the phone.

    I encourage everyone I meet to use strong encryption on all of their communications all the time. Public Key encryption is easy to install and use on most computers and it's free. GPG works on just about every machine/os built today so if you're interested in privacy and liberty, install it. Get your friends and family members to use it. I encrypt everything from shopping lists to travel plans. Jut as every US citizen should own and know how to use a rifle and sidearm, every citizen should install and know how to use encryption software.


  • Reply 26 of 50
    Apple will not cave on this.  They will make any concession, no matter how detrimental to business, before they will compromise customer trust.  Apple's decision and position are correct.  Steve would have been part of this decision years ago, which will give present management the additional grit if they need it.  Remember Steve's parting advice, "Don't ask, 'What would Steve do?' Just do what's right."  

    The fact that the Government is asking Apple to violate citizen's privacy is all we need to know.  Government has already tipped its had, just by asking.  A Government with operational ethics and rule of law, wouldn't even ask.

    One phone = Precedent = All phones/devices no longer private.
    No privacy = No liberty (Give me Liberty or give me Death)
    Apple has taken the correct position on this issue.
    Apple is too big to fail = They will prevail.

    Imagine a legal situation where a company is defending Democracy and Human Rights, against a Government that we are voting for and paying to do that very job?  Apple is defending us against tyranny and fascism.  This is it.  The entire future of Privacy and Liberty and Personal Freedom comes down to this event.  This is the high order bit.  After reading all the news and comnents, I'm convinced that average American citizens can't quite grasp what is at stake.  


    pmzSpamSandwichlostkiwimagman1979
  • Reply 27 of 50
    tenlytenly Posts: 710member
    Wandering a little bit here, but suppose the US government passes a law forcing all smartphone manufacturers to provide a back door in their phones.  Failure to comply would mean that manufacturer couldn't sell their product in the US - right?  But Apple is a global company.  Could the US government mandate that ALL iPhones have to have a back door?  Even the ones sold in China, Japan, etc?  I would think not.  Wouldn't their law only be applicable to phones sold within the US?  So theoretically - Apple could have one version of iOS (or even hardware differentiations) that is sold in the US and has the back door - and a completely different product sold in the rest of the world that does NOT have the back door.  If all that played out, the US government would only have the ability to spy on domestic terrorists - and even then, only the ones that were dumb enough to purchase their phones in the US instead of overseas.  That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

    And if by some chance the US government WAS able to mandate that any company doing business in the US, cannot sell a phone without a backdoor anywhere in the world - wouldn't that just turn out to be a huge opportunity for foreign cellphone companies that don't do business in the US anyways, to step up and provide the "secure" phone the US won't allow - instantly becoming the manufacturer of choice for terrorists home and abroad?  This really seems like a fight the US government can't win.
  • Reply 28 of 50
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,830member


    Congress makes law, not the judiciary. The courts may order Cook to open the phone, but they can't order Cook to make it possible to open the phone.


    The courts make law all the time.  It's called 'case law' also known as 'common law'.  (As opposed to 'statutory law' which is what legislatures crank out.)  Case law still has to comply with the constitution though and that's what this fight is all about which I fully expect it will go all the way to the Supreme Court.
    edited February 2016 lostkiwi
  • Reply 29 of 50
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,830member

    tenly said:

    And if by some chance the US government WAS able to mandate that any company doing business in the US, cannot sell a phone without a backdoor anywhere in the world - wouldn't that just turn out to be a huge opportunity for foreign cellphone companies that don't do business in the US anyways, to step up and provide the "secure" phone the US won't allow - instantly becoming the manufacturer of choice for terrorists home and abroad?  This really seems like a fight the US government can't win.
    Good point.  The FBI and all the parties who agree with them on this matter show very obvious signs of not having thought things through that thoroughly. (Hey, beat that alliteration!) Sometimes it's good that law enforcement operate with single-minded determination.  But it's not good all the time.

    We really need some perspective here.  Stripping smartphones of robust encryption, privacy and transactional security is not going to stop terrorism.  I doubt that it would even put a permanent dent.  Bad actors will just find some other means to hide information and communications.  What it will do is set all of us back, perhaps permanently, in the effort to stamp out criminal hacking, malware, and identity theft.
    edited February 2016 lostkiwi
  • Reply 30 of 50
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,830member

    kamilton said:

    After reading all the news and comnents, I'm convinced that average American citizens can't quite grasp what is at stake.  


    That's because the guvmint rolled out the heavy artillery by raising the word 'terrorism'.  Those three syllables automatically shut down the brains of at least half the people in the country.  Talk about fighting dirty.
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 31 of 50
    tenlytenly Posts: 710member
    tundraboy said:

    kamilton said:

    After reading all the news and comnents, I'm convinced that average American citizens can't quite grasp what is at stake.  


    That's because the guvmint rolled out the heavy artillery by raising the word 'terrorism'.  Those three syllables automatically shut down the brains of at least half the people in the country.  Talk about fighting dirty.
    Which 3 syllables?  The first 3 or the last 3?  Or some other combination?  Which one do we leave out?

    Terr-err-is-umm  :)
  • Reply 32 of 50
    tenlytenly Posts: 710member
    How long until some politician decides that iOS is actually an extension of Apple the company and threaten to charge them with "destroying evidence" if they allow iOS to wipe the data?

    edited February 2016
  • Reply 33 of 50
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    volcan said:
    Distant Relation said:

    The real question is, "can it be done". Apple is no more capable than anyone else when it comes to breaking strong encryption. The court may not order Apple to cease using strong encryption because it cannot produce a key. That's an entirely different situation. The proposal Cuban makes assumes some sort of capability to perform the operation of breaking into the phone under the conditions described (and I won't bother critiquing those conditions), but it can't be done under any conditions if strong encryption is used.
    I agree with this. In the past Apple has said in court filings that even they cannot break the encryption. Furthermore, although I don't know much about the inner workings of iOS, I fail to understand how they can load special software on to this particular iPhone if it is locked, at least not while preserving the data. That is something that should not be possible because if it was, Apple would have been deceitful when describing the security aspects of iOS.
    Their objection though isn't entirely founded on the capabilities of iOS 8 and 9 as they have also resisted cooperating with a phone running iOS 7 that they they have previously opened for law enforcement. That's a Brooklyn case where the perp pled guilty but the case on the phone is still going at the request of both Apple and the DoJ.

    Partly it appears the frequency of these requests (and in some cases the idiocy, requesting an UNPASSCODE protected phone be "hacked"...) has led Apple to draw a line as they see themselves as becoming "part of law enforcement" as it was put. So they're going after the All Writs Act of 1789 as not applicable to forcing a private company to perform forensic services for the police. It's a Brooklyn case, judge's name is Ornstein and he's skeptical the Act applies as well it seems...

    Oh and whether something COULD be created that does not now exist doesn't lead to Apple being deceitful in any way notwithstanding this is an old 5c running even older hardware in the case in San Bernardino.
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 34 of 50
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,541member
    tenly said:
    Wandering a little bit here, but suppose the US government passes a law forcing all smartphone manufacturers to provide a back door in their phones.  Failure to comply would mean that manufacturer couldn't sell their product in the US - right?  But Apple is a global company.  Could the US government mandate that ALL iPhones have to have a back door?  Even the ones sold in China, Japan, etc?  I would think not.  Wouldn't their law only be applicable to phones sold within the US?  So theoretically - Apple could have one version of iOS (or even hardware differentiations) that is sold in the US and has the back door - and a completely different product sold in the rest of the world that does NOT have the back door.  If all that played out, the US government would only have the ability to spy on domestic terrorists - and even then, only the ones that were dumb enough to purchase their phones in the US instead of overseas.  That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

    And if by some chance the US government WAS able to mandate that any company doing business in the US, cannot sell a phone without a backdoor anywhere in the world - wouldn't that just turn out to be a huge opportunity for foreign cellphone companies that don't do business in the US anyways, to step up and provide the "secure" phone the US won't allow - instantly becoming the manufacturer of choice for terrorists home and abroad?  This really seems like a fight the US government can't win.
    This.  Either the FBI / gov't is not thinking this situation through - if we can force Apple to do this, then so will China & other governments.  I am pretty sure the US gov't would not allow a US company to supply such means to other countries gov'ts, which opens the door to those gov'ts to then proceed with bans against US company products that have said back door.  Let's head back to the 80's level of trade.

    Maybe they are thinking it through though, and this is the US governments "backdoor" way of teaching Apple a huge lesson, and destroying a large portion of their value, for not giving them more tax dollars (only half kidding really).
  • Reply 35 of 50
    brucemc said:
    tenly said:
    Wandering a little bit here, but suppose the US government passes a law forcing all smartphone manufacturers to provide a back door in their phones.  Failure to comply would mean that manufacturer couldn't sell their product in the US - right?  But Apple is a global company.  Could the US government mandate that ALL iPhones have to have a back door?  Even the ones sold in China, Japan, etc?  I would think not.  Wouldn't their law only be applicable to phones sold within the US?  So theoretically - Apple could have one version of iOS (or even hardware differentiations) that is sold in the US and has the back door - and a completely different product sold in the rest of the world that does NOT have the back door.  If all that played out, the US government would only have the ability to spy on domestic terrorists - and even then, only the ones that were dumb enough to purchase their phones in the US instead of overseas.  That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

    And if by some chance the US government WAS able to mandate that any company doing business in the US, cannot sell a phone without a backdoor anywhere in the world - wouldn't that just turn out to be a huge opportunity for foreign cellphone companies that don't do business in the US anyways, to step up and provide the "secure" phone the US won't allow - instantly becoming the manufacturer of choice for terrorists home and abroad?  This really seems like a fight the US government can't win.
    This.  Either the FBI / gov't is not thinking this situation through - if we can force Apple to do this, then so will China & other governments.  I am pretty sure the US gov't would not allow a US company to supply such means to other countries gov'ts, which opens the door to those gov'ts to then proceed with bans against US company products that have said back door.  Let's head back to the 80's level of trade.

    Maybe they are thinking it through though, and this is the US governments "backdoor" way of teaching Apple a huge lesson, and destroying a large portion of their value, for not giving them more tax dollars (only half kidding really).
    Interesting point. However the Fed don't seem to be as interested in the off shore riches of the big banks and hedge funds. How many people want to jail for the GFC? Or even the LIBOR scandal?
    The difference is that Apple can figure out (or won't) the right hands to line in government.  The companies that have figured that out are basically untouchable now. 
  • Reply 36 of 50
    tenly said:
    How long until some politician decides that iOS is actually an extension of Apple the company and threaten to charge them with "destroying evidence" if they allow iOS to wipe the data?

    That's not a stretch by any measure.
  • Reply 37 of 50
    hmlongco said:
    Basically he applauds Apple for standing up to them and then with his "rules" pushes the door wide open against the very thing they're standing against. 

    Once you open the door you open the door not only for the US government but every government under which Apple sells phones.

    And today it's just "terrorists", but tomorrow it's terrorist and pedophiles, and the next day it's terrorist and pedophiles and drug dealers, and the day after that it's terrorist and pedophiles and drug dealers and suspected criminals, and then...
    Absolutely right. The Costitution already protects us against such incursions against our liberties. Cuban provides bullet points that contradict his alleged support. The guy is thickheaded. Whomever is appointed to the Supreme Court may be the deathblow to our already withering protections.
    It's not as simple as that. The 4th amendment only protects against "unreasonable" searches and seizures, and the federal government is trying to argue this search is reasonable. What Cuban is suggesting is that Congress create a law that sets a legal standard and sets limits on what the FBI can do in such cases -- as Congress is supposed to do. And it would be better for Congress -- our representatives -- to decide instead of unelected justices deciding instead. 
  • Reply 38 of 50
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,046member
    hmlongco said:
    Basically he applauds Apple for standing up to them and then with his "rules" pushes the door wide open against the very thing they're standing against. 

    Once you open the door you open the door not only for the US government but every government under which Apple sells phones.

    And today it's just "terrorists", but tomorrow it's terrorist and pedophiles, and the next day it's terrorist and pedophiles and drug dealers, and the day after that it's terrorist and pedophiles and drug dealers and suspected criminals, and then...
    Soon in the near future: Minority Report's pre-emptive criminal
  • Reply 39 of 50
    Absolutely right. The Costitution already protects us against such incursions against our liberties. Cuban provides bullet points that contradict his alleged support. The guy is thickheaded. Whomever is appointed to the Supreme Court may be the deathblow to our already withering protections.
    It's not as simple as that. The 4th amendment only protects against "unreasonable" searches and seizures, and the federal government is trying to argue this search is reasonable. What Cuban is suggesting is that Congress create a law that sets a legal standard and sets limits on what the FBI can do in such cases -- as Congress is supposed to do. And it would be better for Congress -- our representatives -- to decide instead of unelected justices deciding instead. 
    It ISN'T reasonable because it cannot be conducted without forcing Apple to deliberately undermine their own security, which would set a precedent that would be catastrophic for ALL crypto in the US and it would be particularly devastating for Apple. Their phones would no longer be trusted anywhere in the world, plus OTHER governments would demand backdoors.

    If Apple's security doesn't work for the VERY RARE "bad guys", then it doesn't work for the vast majority of "normals".
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 40 of 50
    hmlongco said:
    Basically he applauds Apple for standing up to them and then with his "rules" pushes the door wide open against the very thing they're standing against. 

    Once you open the door you open the door not only for the US government but every government under which Apple sells phones.

    And today it's just "terrorists", but tomorrow it's terrorist and pedophiles, and the next day it's terrorist and pedophiles and drug dealers, and the day after that it's terrorist and pedophiles and drug dealers and suspected criminals, and then...
    "And I did not say anything, because I'm not a terrorist. When they came for pedophiles, I ignored it. I'm not a pedophile. ... And when they came for me, there was nobody left to stand up for me."
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