We Just Found Out The Real Reason The FBI Wants A Backdoor Into The iPhone

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jake Anderson via TheAntiMedia.org,

The FBI versus Apple Inc. An unstoppable force meets an immovable object the feverish momentum of American technocracy accelerating into the cavernous Orwellian entrenchment of the surveillance state. You thought the patent wars were intense? The ‘Battle of the Backdoor’ pits one of America’s most monolithic tech conglomerates against the Department of Justice and, ultimately, the interests of the national security state. And this case is likely only the opening salvo in what will be a decades-long ideological war between tech privacy advocates and the federal government.

On its face, the case boils down to a single locked and encrypted iPhone 5S, used by radical jihadist Syed Rizwan Farook before he and his wide Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in San Bernardino on December 2nd. The DOJ wants Apple to build a backdoor into the device so that it can bypass the company’s state of the art encryption apparatus and access information and evidence related to the case.

At least, that’s the premise presented to the public. As we are learning, the FBI and the federal government have a far more comprehensive end-game in mind than merely bolstering the prosecution of this one case.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted last week that “crucial details [of the case] are being obscured by officials.” Specifically, he made the following trenchant points:

 

Now, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that there are actually 12 other iPhones the FBI wants to access in cases that have nothing to do with terrorism. According to an Apple lawyer, these cases are spread all across the country:Four in Illinois, three in New York, two in California, two in Ohio, and one in Massachusetts.”

With each of these cases, the FBI’s lawyers cite an 18th-century law called All Writs Act, which they say is the jurisprudence needed to force Apple to comply and bypass their built-in proprietary encryption methods. Is it any wonder the only case the public hears about is the one that involves terrorism?

While law enforcement authorities claim these 12 additional cases are evidence that encryption has become a major hindrance to investigations across the country, privacy advocates say it is, conversely, evidence that national security is not the only factor at play in the government’s desire to circumvent encryption. This is further evidenced by the fact that the government has been pressuring Apple to create iPhone backdoors since long before the San Bernardino attack.

Rather, information privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) say the push for bypassing encryption specifically, compelling Apple to build a backdoor operating system involves a large-scale campaign to use the threat of terror to overreach their legal authority, breaching civil liberties in the process. We saw this in the wake of 9/11, when NSA’s PRISM program conscripted Google, Microsoft, and Facebook in a covert data mining campaign to collect metadata from American citizens.

The EFF says the Apple case is part of an ongoing pattern of the state using the threat of terrorism as a Trojan horse to get backdoor access to citizens’ smartphones:

“The power to force a company to undermine security protections for its customers may seem compelling in a particular case, but this week’s order has very significant implications both for technology and the law. Not only would it require a company to create a new vulnerability potentially affecting millions of device users, the order would also create a dangerous legal precedent. The next time an intelligence agency tries to undermine consumer device security by forcing a company to develop new flaws in its own security protocols, the government will find a supportive case to cite where before there were none.”

The DOJ deployed talking heads to all the media outlets to make the specious argument that what they’re asking for doesn’t really constitute a backdoor. The fact of the matter is, they are asking for a court to mandate that Apple work for the government (which, some have argued, creates a 13th amendment violation as well as privacy concerns) in weakening their own security and creating access to a locked, encrypted device. This is a backdoor, and virtually all tech experts agree that they are dangerous.

Nate Cardozo explained on the PBS NewsHour:

“Authoritarian regimes around the world are salivating at the prospect of the FBI winning this order. If Apple creates the master key that the FBI has demanded that they create, governments around the world are going to be demanding the same access.”

Computer programming expert and Libertarian Party presidential candidate John McAfee tried to call the FBI’s bluff last week by offering to take apart the San Bernardino iPhone and help the government extract the data they want without building a backdoor. He made the rounds on major media outlets as well, warning of the dangers of complying with the Justice Department.

McAfee says the FBI is “asking every owner of an iPhone to make their phone susceptible to bad hackers and more importantly foreign enemies of the United States like China.”

Meanwhile, this week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg offered intellectual solidarity with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, while Bill Gates took a more moderate stance on the issue, suggesting privacy advocates were overreacting. Gates later backslid from this position and lent his support to Apple.

It’s also worth pointing out that the FBI’s own mistakes during the investigation of the San Bernardino shooting may the reason they now need Apple’s help. According to Truthdig,

“The FBI reportedly asked San Bernardino County officials to tamper with the iCloud account of one of the suspected shooters in last December’s attack, in an effort that ultimately failed — making it impossible to know if there were other ways of recovering encrypted information without taking Apple to court.”

Apple’s brand is on the line, too. Previously hailed as a data security juggernaut among smartphone manufacturers, a judicial order to build a backdoor would compromise their status in a market in which uncompromised encryption is becoming rarer by the day.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. As noted by The Pontiac Tribune, if the FBI prevails in this case, the ramifications won’t be limited to smartphones. It will set a precedent for the government legally conscripting any and every entity they desire for the purposes of citizen surveillance and metadata collection.

* * *

After the bell we hear news from The New York Times that:

  • APPLE SAID TO BE WORKING ON IPHONE THAT IT CAN'T EVEN HACK

That should solve problem... who will The FBI force to un-encrypt now?

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Cognitive Dissonance's picture

This is all just elaborately staged Kabuki theater.

Apple wishes to appear to be the staunch defender of your right to privacy. And the NSA wishes people to believe their phones aren't already 'hacked'.

BuddyEffed's picture

It's obvious to me that they want this for foreign phones along with US phones.

KesselRunin12Parsecs's picture
KesselRunin12Parsecs (not verified) BuddyEffed Feb 24, 2016 8:24 PM

iApple = iBitcoin

Bollixed's picture

Did we already forget the eye witnesses saw three white men with athletic builds?

espirit's picture

I concur with CD.

It's all kabuki to pump AAPL.

 

Doncha all feel better now that AAPL has your six?

/sarc +1/2

JuliaS's picture

It's a tug of war between governments and corporations, where each side wants to monopolize its access to data. Corporations want to control you and influence the government. The government wants to control you and influence corporations.

Apple has made a tracking device with which millions of people willingly police themselves. Apple has control over millions of minds and wallets.

Government also wants control over minds and wallets, but only knows how to achieve goals through force, so it applies force onto Apple, as it is not smart enough to invent and build its own mass surveillance devices people would buy.

My position is that I want to have zero to do with Apple and with the government.

RAT005's picture

Apple work for government. ... One of the Obamanation recent executive orders  described how government has the authority under Marshall law type scenario to conscript any resource they deam necessary.  Preppers read it to mean anyone that has prepared to live independently outside government rationing system can have their supplies confiscated. It also says anyone can be conscripted to work for the government to provide what ever assistance they demand. So eventually, government can mandate Apple provide what ever services they demand. 

acetinker's picture

It's a minor annoyance, but why do so many people mis-spell martial?

Marshall concerns itself with interstate offense/transport of offenders.

Martial pertains to a nationwide jurisdiction, ignoring the law/policy of the supposedly sovereign states.

Lincoln declared martial law in 1861 at the commencement of the civil war.  To my knowledge, it has never been rescinded.

in4mayshun's picture

Because "Marshall" law kind-of makes sense. As in, in cases of extreme emergency, one person (i.e. The Marshall) temporarily takes control of the town or locale or whatever.

acetinker's picture

It might 'make sense' to some, but I contend that words are important.

Maybe you're thinking of Sheriff, as that is the ultimate local authority in the US.

For instance, a Governor may call in the National Guard, but the Sheriff can override him at the county level.  It never happens, but that's the pecking order.

The Marshall has almost no authority.  He is merely a trusted agent of whatever agency he works for.

Kinda like a Pinkerton Man- but that might not ring a bell if you're not an old fart, like me.

Tarzan's picture

"I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

After all, many words in the English language came from writers like Shakespeare who simply made them up.

Stainless Steel Rat's picture
Stainless Steel Rat (not verified) Tarzan Feb 25, 2016 1:45 AM

Remember when the government used to just go through every piece of mail you received? No?!?!?!  How about when they used to come into your home regularly and rummage through the papers in your desk?  No? Seriously?!?!?  How did we ever keep ourselves safe from the terrorists back then?

Arnold's picture

"The fact of the matter is, they are asking for a court to mandate that Apple work for the government (which, some have argued, creates a 13th amendment violation as well as privacy concerns) in weakening their own security and creating"

 

 It's all a matter of degree. isn't it?

Governments get half of what I do now.

I'm not willing to give them much more.

N2OJoe's picture

Apple wants to give the goons everything they want, but they don't want to be bothered hacking their phones themselves. However, if they just do that, then they will look like the weak collaborators that they are.

Therefore, they need to play games and pretend to not comply so that a court order is issued and they can say "See? We had no choice!"

Ghost of Porky's picture

"The FBI already has all of the suspects communication records."

"The FBI already has all of the suspects communication records."

"The FBI already has all of the suspects communication records."

"The FBI already has all of the suspects communication records."

"The FBI already has all of the suspects communication records."

 

StychoKiller's picture

You mean like "incented?"  Get outta here!

lincolnsteffens's picture

I want a mass surveillance device to spy on the government. Come on Apple get working on that.

palmereldritch's picture

Please. This is to encryption limitations as NASA is to space technology.

More theater to produce the perception/reality required.

Retail takeaway: “If only the NSA had the ability to crack these algos!!....”

Added bonus: They actually get their back door for the lower level ‘law enforcement’ plebes and the narrative is re-enforced.

zhandax's picture

The added bonus may be the real casus belli.  Enable localized specialists to break in so the NSA goobers don't get their tranny porn surfing interrupted by local requests for assistance. 

If you always assume the worst about people who work for the government, your only surprise is how unimaginative you are when it comes to fucking off at work.

Pool Shark's picture

 

 

Apple's best defense:

13th Amendment: Involuntary servitude.

Absent being convicted of a federal crime, Apple employees can't be forced to work against their will.

The FBI can issue a subpoena duces tecum for Apple to provide documents to the court, but they can't force them to provide an involuntary service by unlocking an iPhone.

 

Liberty2012's picture

JuliaS - "It's a tug of war between governments and corporations, where each side wants to monopolize its access to data. Corporations want to control you and influence the government. The government wants to control you and influence corporations.

Apple has made a tracking device with which millions of people willingly police themselves. Apple has control over millions of minds and wallets.

Government also wants control over minds and wallets, but only knows how to achieve goals through force, so it applies force onto Apple, as it is not smart enough to invent and build its own mass surveillance devices people would buy.

My position is that I want to have zero to do with Apple and with the government."

Quite true - except:  Your ultimate choice is whether to be a ludite or not.  

Either you chose the best technology you can - hopefully one that respects you for the most part - or you chose to abstain.

 

A Nanny Moose's picture

I will take Corporations for the win. Interaction with corporations is voluntary. Government? Not so much.

As a bonus, no government = no corporation.

acetinker's picture

In khaki pants and dark shirts?  Carrying scary-looking weapons?  Funny you bring that up.  Was just having this convo with wife and grown son this evening.

To them, that information does not exist- i.e.; it was not on Fox News.

I saw it, you saw it- but we're fulla shit, apparently.

IMHO, those 'terrorists' were just handy scapegoats and the usfedgov/injustice dept. are the actual terrorists.

Oh, and we've always been at war with... I forget, who is it just now?

zhandax's picture

Ace, I remember it and thought it was four men but in all black.  I ran it through the search engine and it was apparently three men.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-06/san-bernardino-attack-eye-witne...

wahrheit's picture

But..do you mean a 4'11", 90 lb Pakistani woman might have issues accurately firing a long gun with only minimal self training while live tweeting it all?

raybies's picture

Nobody cares about the 3 self imploding buildings, what makes you think anyone would care about 3 white males on a rampage?

MissCellany's picture

Er uh...How's that going to work? Trump has said he would prosecute Snowden.

nmewn's picture

+1

I know its a small thing to ask but...is it possible (for once, just once) to have a presidential candidate who is as at least as intelligent and liberty minded as the average ZH reader?

I know its a small thing...but still ;-)

JuliaS's picture

I'd love to see the president go on TV after a stock market crash and instead of reassuring the public, address the banking community with: "Jump, you fuckers!"

This was the president of the United States, ladies and gentlemen. Good night.

new game's picture

he would be the one to do it...

Liberty2012's picture

nmewn - 

 

Go for it!

 

StandardDeviant's picture

President Camacho is starting to look pretty good.

Fred Garvin's picture

"We Just Found Out The Real Reason The FBI Wants A Backdoor Into The iPhone"

Been in a cave for a couple of years? I think you were the last to find out.

Goliath Slayer's picture
Goliath Slayer (not verified) Fred Garvin Feb 24, 2016 8:27 PM

It's called RULE BY FEAR like the IRS.

nmewn's picture

Now see!

If Apple could just steal the industrial strength hard drive shredding recycling technology used by the "rogue agents" within the IRS, why, none of this would be an issue! ;-) 

knukles's picture

Sheeeeit!  Yo noby gwan wan deal wif you yo!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I suggest we all install chastity belts on our iPhones.

Quasi's picture

Ding Ding Ding! If it were simply US phones all the US Gov has to do is outlaw encryption. Many countries already do that.  This is just as I said before, corral the herd into a pen where they feel safe. But they control the gate of said pen.

Jim in MN's picture

The NSA and DHS need to be defunded and dismantled.  They are serious dangers to the US and global populace.

Let Eurasia stew in its own fascist juices.  Get our Republic back and let investment and innovation do the rest.  Sure, a hard decade during the Great Reset.  But, it's the only way.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

If 'the only way' means ripping power from those who already employ it, the great reset will be delayed as long as possible. Or at least until the explosive force is so large people will beg to be chained in the bowels of the Roman Galley for the promise of three meals a day and and a limit of 30 lashes a week.

We say desperate men do desperate things. We are beyond the point of no return. That said, the powers that be want to leverage the system so far that those most likely to be harmed, the plebs of the world, will beg for enslavement in return for three hots and a cot.

We are less than a generation away for near middle age feudal conditions for the lower classes, all monitored and managed by modern technology of course.

On a much lighter note, Mrs Cog has the Butternut Blues.

Kissy Ass's picture

FBI traitors should be executed by ISIL patriots.

Fucking theater.
John says:
"I’ll decrypt the San Bernardino phone free of charge so Apple doesn’t need to place a back door on its product".

http://www.whoismcafee.com/ill-decrypt-the-san-bernardino-phone-free-of-...

But John's just a cookoobird, right Alice? RIGHT!!?

Kissy this you federal fucks!

acetinker's picture

I watched your lovely bride earlier today.  Hazarding a guess- she's a bit younger than you, eh?

It was nice to put a face to the brief exchanges we've had here and there.

Unassuming.

Down to earth.

Obviously in love.

Shit's about to get real.

We should all be so fortunate.

Be well, y'all!

FIAT CON's picture

Maybe Apple should reprogram those machines to monitor the metadata of the Murican politicians and Banksters.

junction's picture

Reggie and Obama do not like talk of back doors.