Apple

Are all of you tech geeks out there following the Apple story?  I really wasn’t following it at all until I saw it on the news Monday morning.  My initial response was shock that Apple was not cooperating and helping to break into the phone.  There could be vital information on that phone that would prevent future attacks!  Then, as I read more about it, I started to change my mind.

Let’s assume that Apple is telling the truth and that they really don’t have a current way to do what the government wants them to do.  They would have to create software that would circumvent the security passcodes on the phone in order to get to the data.  Apple’s argument is that once this is created, it can’t be undone and could be used on anyone’s iphone, going forward.  The Whitehouse says that they are only asking for Apple’s help in breaking into this one phone but Apple said that it does not work that way.  If it’s done for one phone, the same software could be used to break into any iphone.

Upon further review, the libertarian in me sides with Apple.  I am surprised though that the government can’t figure out how to do this without Apple’s help.  I’m expecting a friend, and semi-regular reader of this blog, to chime in with his geekspertise(I coined that word just for him).  Can’t the government find and hire someone that does not work for Apple to solve this problem for them?  While we wait for his response, here’s a couple of cool, apple themed tunes.  The first, an early recording by Pink Floyd and the second, a great power pop tune from the Apple record label(see what I did there?) by Badfinger.

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6 thoughts on “Apple

  1. Hmmm. So IF the government were able to create this software…would that be better or worse than Apple doing it and holding onto it? Once created it’s “there” wherever it is done. Where will it be safer and used appropriately or otherwise?

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  2. Well.. I’m assuming you are talking about me. So.. I’ll start by saying that I specifically sign all kinds of stuff saying that if I did know how to do something like this I wouldn’t tell anyone.. further.. if the government hired me.. or..someone like me.. to do this we wouldn’t talk about it.. thats really at the heart of the entire “security clearance” issue that I have with HRC.

    That being said.. I have nothing to do this this as of today, so, let’s have at some hypotheticals based on what I’ve read.
    1.) In general doing this type of thing is a question of resources and desire. If you really want at a piece of data and you have the resources to bring to bear then getting Apple to help really shouldn’t be mandatory.
    2.) Having Apple help would make it a lot easier
    3.) There is no reason to believe that if 1 branch of the govt has access via their own means they would share it with another branch.
    4.) The entire idea that this is in the media makes me think it’s more about public relations then it’s about technology.
    5.) I’m not sure what it is they are looking for that they need unencrypted access to the phone. Your phone is constantly sending information back to servers out in the internet. That is all available through the standard fisa warrant process.

    I will say this.. *IF* Apple made the presence of a master key available that is a really bad idea. They should help the govt get into the phone, or, at least provide technical assistance… but.. that needs to be done carefully.. and in a way I’m not willing to discuss. Let me give you a for-instance to explain how complicated this gets. Because of the crime that this phone was involved with, and, the people involved with the case at this time I’d bet that anything having to do with it is on very restricted access. If you ask an outsider to help.. even one with clearance.. they certainly won’t have the right kind of clearance. That means that you need to do the work in a scif which means you are doing your work under very close surveillance. So.. even if you had a trusted Apple person who had access to a 1-time key there would be no way to keep that process a secret going forward. Having someone know that you know how to do that kind of thing makes you a target in a way that you don’t want to get involved with.

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