Pensacola case Stories May 19

The latest Apple/FBI war of words in the Pensacola case has once again highlighted the huge challenge Apple has in communicating the reality of the debate, in a world in which most people have no understanding of the core issue.

To a non-technical person, the debate appears to be a moral one. The FBI says that it needs access to data from terrorists and criminals, and Apple wants to prevent this. FBI, good; Apple, bad.

To anyone who understands the technology, the debate is very different …

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Pensacola case Stories May 18

It looks like the most recent contention between the FBI and Apple over device encryption has come to an end as the agency has unlocked the two iPhones belonging to the Pensacola shooter with “no thanks to Apple.” Going further, AG William Barr has again called for the government to force Apple and others to create backdoors into their devices.

Update: We’ve got an official response from Apple on the matter that highlights all the ways it helped the FBI and that it’s precisely because it takes security and privacy so seriously that it doesn’t believe in creating a backdoor:

The terrorist attack on members of the US armed services at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida was a devastating and heinous act. Apple responded to the FBI’s first requests for information just hours after the attack on December 6, 2019 and continued to support law enforcement during their investigation. We provided every piece of information available to us, including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts, and we lent continuous and ongoing technical and investigative support to FBI offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola and New York over the months since.

On this and many thousands of other cases, we continue to work around-the-clock with the FBI and other investigators who keep Americans safe and bring criminals to justice. As a proud American company, we consider supporting law enforcement’s important work our responsibility. The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security.

It is because we take our responsibility to national security so seriously that we do not believe in the creation of a backdoor — one which will make every device vulnerable to bad actors who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. There is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys, and the American people do not have to choose between weakening encryption and effective investigations.

Customers count on Apple to keep their information secure and one of the ways in which we do so is by using strong encryption across our devices and servers. We sell the same iPhone everywhere, we don’t store customers’ passcodes and we don’t have the capacity to unlock passcode-protected devices. In data centers, we deploy strong hardware and software security protections to keep information safe and to ensure there are no backdoors into our systems. All of these practices apply equally to our operations in every country in the world.

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Pensacola case Stories February 5

In early January, the FBI asked Apple to unlock two iPhones as part of the Pensacola case. Apple stood its ground and said it wouldn’t create a backdoor for iOS but would help as much as it could without crossing that line. Even though the FBI has the ability to unlock the iPhone 7 and iPhone 5 with the help of third-parties, today it said it still hasn’t been able to get to the data on the devices.

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Pensacola case Stories January 22

US President Donald Trump has again demanded that Apple compromise the security of iOS to unlock iPhones seized in criminal cases, saying that the company “holds the keys to many criminal minds.” His attack on Apple’s privacy measures were made in an interview with CNBC.

‘Frankly I’ve helped them a lot. I’ve given them waivers, because it’s a great company, but it made a big difference,’ Trump told Squawk Box co-host Joe Kernen, referring to tariff waivers in US-China trade war.

‘They could have given us that information. It would have been very helpful. Apple has to help us. And I’m very strong on it. They have the keys to so many criminals and criminal minds’ …

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Pensacola case Stories January 17

Three different civil liberties groups are backing Apple in its refusal to create a weakened version of iOS to allow the FBI access to two iPhones used by the Pensacola shooter.

They support Apple’s position that compromising iPhone encryption would be a far greater risk to national security than not gaining access to the phones…

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Pensacola case Stories January 15

As Apple stands firm against requests to break iPhone encryption, many people have questioned why the FBI needs Apple’s help in the first place. There are plenty of tools available from third-party companies that are more than capable of unlocking the iPhone 5 and iPhone 7 used by the Pensacola gunman.

Further emphasizing that point, a new report from Forbes says that the FBI recently used one of those black/gray market tools to unlock the newest — and theoretically the most secure — iPhone that Apple sells.

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