Encryption Stories February 21, 2020

An absurdly named bill is set to form the latest attempt to create legislation requiring tech giants to provide a backdoor to encryption.

The Eliminating Abuse and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2019 (EARN IT Act) is co-sponsored by Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)…

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Encryption Stories December 12, 2019

Apple has defended its policy of using strong iPhone encryption such that not even the company can gain access to the personal data stored on devices.

The company struck to its privacy guns despite the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman issuing a threat against Apple and other tech giants…

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Encryption Stories June 24, 2019

The latest Apple ads carry messages aimed to showing the company caring for both consumers and the planet.

There are three short video ads, each just 16 seconds long, and you can watch each of them below …

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Encryption Stories March 5, 2019

The FBI’s long-running battle with technology companies over encryption is far from over. FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke at the RSA Conference in San Fransisco today, and said the encryption problem is “getting worse and worse” around the United States.

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Encryption Stories November 29, 2018

At a Georgetown Law and Department of Justice cybercrime conference today, Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, made a strong statement that suggests Apple has a mission to “defeat legitimate law enforcement” efforts.

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Encryption Stories January 11, 2018

Health app data from an iPhone is being used as evidence in a rape and murder investigation in Germany, Motherboard reports. Details in the story also point to what may be the first known iPhone 6s lock screen bypass…

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Encryption Stories November 10, 2017

The debate over privacy and security between tech companies and the government is playing out in public yet again. Without naming Apple specifically, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested this week in comments reported by The Washington Examiner that the company’s position on strong encryption may cost lives. Rosenstein’s comments follow reports that the recent church shooter in Texas used an iPhone that may not be accessible by the government.

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Encryption Stories August 11, 2017

While Apple may have given in to demands from the Chinese government to remove VPN apps from its app store there, it does generally take a strong stand on encryption. It uses end-to-end encryption for both iMessage and FaceTime, and resisted pressure from the FBI to create a weakened version of iOS, describing it as too dangerous.

We’ve written a number of pieces explaining why we support Apple’s stance, both before and after the San Bernardino case.

The British government wants to ban end-to-end encryption altogether, arguing that it hampers the work of the security services. Support for Apple’s position – and opposition to that of the British Home Secretary – has now come from an unlikely source …

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Encryption Stories May 17, 2017

U.S. Senate approves secure messaging app Signal for use by staffers

The U.S. Senate has approved the secure messaging app Signal for use by staffers. The approval was apparently granted back in March, but only came to light in a letter written by Sen. Ron Wyden.

Encryption Stories March 27, 2017

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd – in charge of police policy in the UK – has told the BBC that Apple ‘cannot get away with’ apps that offer unbreakable encryption following last week’s terrorist attack in London.

Rudd was speaking after it was revealed that Khalid Masood accessed WhatsApp two minutes before ploughing through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in a rented car, killing three of them, before fatally stabbing a police officer guarding the Houses of Parliament.

She described end-to-end encrypted messaging as used by WhatsApp and Apple’s Messages app as ‘completely unacceptable’ …

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Encryption Stories February 2, 2017

iPhone-5c

When Apple refused to compromise iOS security last year and unlock the iPhone 5c belonging to the San Bernardino shooter, the FBI turned to an Israeli mobile forensics firm called Cellebrite to find a way in to the encrypted iPhone. Now Motherboard reports that a hacker has released files allegedly from Cellebrite that demonstrate how cracking tools can’t be kept private.

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Encryption Stories May 24, 2016

tim-cook-senate-hearing

Even though Apple’s fight over the San Bernardino iPhone is essentially over, the overall debate regarding encryption versus national security remains. In an effort to continue to beef up security options on consumer devices, Reuters today reports that Apple has rehired well-respected security expert Jon Callas. News of this hire comes as we’re hearing from sources that Apple is in the midst of entirely overhauling its security team.

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Encryption Stories May 20, 2016

senate-bill

The fallout from the standoff between Apple and the FBI in the San Bernardino case continues. Following the introduction of one bipartisan bill in the House of Representives in February, seeking to protect encryption against any state-level legislation that might compromise it, a new bill has now been introduced in the Senate ,,,

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Encryption Stories April 22, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 10.11.33

In an interview with the BBC on national British radio, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said that he believes Apple should pay 50% tax, along with all other companies. He said he doesn’t like the distinction of different rules between corporations and individuals.

Today, although Apple has never been found to evade tax or conduct illegal practices, it does not pay at top-rate tax, using a variety of financial engineering schemes to redirect profits elsewhere, such as Ireland, with significantly lower tax requirements.

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Encryption Stories April 21, 2016

FBI director suggests agency paid well over $1 million to unlock San Bernardino iPhone

Speaking to a security conference in London today, FBI director James Comey suggested that the agency paid more than $1 million for the iPhone 5c exploit used to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s device last month. NBC News reports that Comey didn’t explicitly reveal the price of the hack, but instead hinted at its price based on his salary:

Encryption Stories April 20, 2016

apple

Just a day after a prominent legal expert described the proposed anti-encryption Burr-Feinstein bill as unconstitutional, unenforceable and harmful, Apple has called the proposal ‘well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable.’

The description is in an open letter from the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, of which Apple is a key member, alongside companies such as Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter. The letter, addressed to the two Senators behind the proposed bill, explains why it would be harmful to the interests of both the U.S. people and American businesses …

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Encryption Stories April 19, 2016

iphone-5c

CNN today reports that while the FBI did not find anything new on the San Bernardino iPhone 5c that it unlocked without Apple’s help, it has “produced data the FBI didn’t have before.” Essentially, not finding anything new on the device is what the FBI needed to know in order to answer some of its remaining questions regarding the case.

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An anti-government protester holds up his iPhone with a sign "No Entry" during a demonstration near the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in New York on February 23, 2016. Apple is battling the US government over unlocking devices in at least 10 cases in addition to its high-profile dispute involving the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino attackers, court documents show. Apple has been locked in a legal and public relations battle with the US government in the California case, where the FBI is seeking technical assistance in hacking the iPhone of Syed Farook, a US citizen, who with his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik in December gunned down 14 people. / AFP / Jewel SamadJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: 549279033
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An anti-government protester holds up his iPhone with a sign "No Entry" during a demonstration near the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in New York on February 23, 2016. Apple is battling the US government over unlocking devices in at least 10 cases in addition to its high-profile dispute involving the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino attackers, court documents show. Apple has been locked in a legal and public relations battle with the US government in the California case, where the FBI is seeking technical assistance in hacking the iPhone of Syed Farook, a US citizen, who with his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik in December gunned down 14 people. / AFP / Jewel SamadJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: 549279033

While the FBI abandoned its court case against Apple, the dispute of course still rumbles on in Congress, with hearings today and a proposed bill to force U.S. tech companies to break encrypted devices on demand. But at least one legal expert thinks the Feinstein-Burr bill is deeply flawed, arguing that it is unconstitutional, unenforceable and would harm U.S. investigative capabilities.

And not just any legal expert: you can’t really ask for better credentials in this area than those of Paul Rosenzweig.

Paul Rosenzweig is the founder of Red Branch Consulting PLLC, a homeland security consulting company [and] formerly served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Homeland Security. He is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute. He also serves as a Professorial Lecturer in Law at George Washington University [and] a Senior Editor of the Journal of National Security Law & Policy.

In a blog post on Lawfare, Rosenzweig sets out the three problems he sees with the Feinstein-Burr bill …

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Encryption Stories April 14, 2016

wyden

A proposed law that would force Apple and other tech companies to decrypt devices for law enforcement agencies has reached the stage of a draft bill – but one Senator has vowed to filibuster it. A filibuster is when a parliamentarian makes a lengthy, uninterrupted speech which results in running out of time to debate the bill, causing it to fail.

The Senate Intelligence Committee first proposed to introduce the bill in February, and the FBI lent its support by briefing two sponsoring senators. However, many lawmakers oppose the bill, and it has been reported that the White House will not publicly support it.

The Verge now reports that one senator has pledged to filibuster the bill if it gets as far as a Senate debate …

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iphone-hack

The FBI has so far been ambivalent about whether or not it will reveal to Apple the method used to access the San Bernardino iPhone, but a Reuters report suggests that the agency may not even know – or have the legal right to disclose it if it does.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that it was freelance hackers, and not Cellebrite, who sold the FBI the tool used to access the phone. But the group may not have revealed the vulnerability on which it was based, and the government process that decides which vulnerabilities to share with companies does not apply in this case …

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Encryption Stories April 8, 2016

iPhone Touch ID

The San Bernardino iPhone case over Apple’s iPhone encryption may be over for now after the FBI managed to break into the iPhone 5c used by one of the shooters, but the same isn’t true for another high-profile case in New York. Bloomberg reports that the United States Department of Justice has decided to indeed continue its demand that Apple help unlock the encrypted iPhone 5s of an alleged drug dealer in the case.

The U.S. government is pressing a demand that Apple Inc. help it crack a drug dealer’s phone in Brooklyn, New York, even after it said it successfully accessed a California shooter’s iPhone without the company’s help.

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Encryption Stories April 7, 2016

ForensicsLab_Web

It has been widely speculated that the method used by the FBI to access the San Bernardino iPhone might not work with phones that have the Secure Enclave, and this has now been effectively confirmed. FBI director James Comey told CNN that the method doesn’t work with the latest iPhones.

The FBI director also said the purchased tool worked only on a “narrow slice of phones” that does not include the newest Apple models, or the 5S.

This fact also lends support to the main theory about how the hack was performed …

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white-house

The White House will not be supporting draft legislation that would allow courts to force tech companies like Apple to help law enforcement hack into encrypted devices, reports Reuters.

The Senate Intelligence Committee in February announced plans to impose criminal penalties on companies that fail to comply with court orders like the one challenged by Apple and finally withdrawn by the FBI. Remarks by President Obama last month appeared to suggest he would support the proposed legislation, but it now appears this isn’t the case …

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Encryption Stories April 5, 2016

iphone-screenshot

Although the battle over encryption between the FBI and Apple has currently subsided, the issue of privacy and security in technology continues. Today, WhatsApp is announcing that all messages, photos, phone calls and videos sent over its messaging app will be encrypted end-to-end. This means that no one can access any communications apart from the people in the conversation. This means if WhatsApp is subpoenaed by government for information, WhatsApp will not be able to help them as it simply cannot help them.

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