San Bernardino Stories February 21

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The San Bernardino iPhone hack story rumbles on, with three news organizations insisting that there is no good reason for the FBI to withhold the cost of accessing the phone. Associated Press, Vice Media and USA Today have asked a US judge to force the FBI to reveal the information, reports the BBC …

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San Bernardino Stories January 11

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San Bernardino Stories November 4, 2016

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The Indian government has struck a deal to buy the technology Israel-based Cellebrite used to gain access to the iPhone in the San Bernardino shooting case, reports the Economic Times. The FBI was reported to have paid Cellebrite close to $1M to access the phone in the high-profile case resulting in a court battle with Apple and a Congressional hearing.

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San Bernardino Stories October 7, 2016

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A statement by the FBI has raised the possibility of a second legal battle with Apple in a very similar case to the San Bernardino shootingWired reports that an FBI agent speaking about the case of the man who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall last month has said that the agency was considering legal as well as technical options.

At a press conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota today, FBI special agent Rich Thorton said that the FBI has obtained the iPhone of Dahir Adan, who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall before a police officer shot and killed him. (The fundamentalist militant organization ISIS claimed credit for the attack via social media.) As in Farook’s case, the attacker’s phone is locked with a passcode. And Thorton said the FBI is still trying to figure out how to gain access to the phone’s contents.

“Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked,” Thornton told reporters, “We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.”

The similarities in the two cases are notable …

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San Bernardino Stories September 16, 2016

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San Bernardino Stories August 12, 2016

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Update: Steve Gibson has taken issue with the ‘golden key’ term used by Ars, arguing that it overplays the significance of the vulnerability.

I wrote an opinion piece predating the San Bernardino shootings on why Apple was right to stand firm on encryption even in the face of terrorist attacks, and another one afterwards explaining why it would be too dangerous to give the FBI the iPhone master key they demanded.

My main argument was that something as powerful as a master key to unlock an iPhone would eventually fall into the wrong hands.

So soon, the FBI would hold the key. Then other law enforcement agencies. In time, that key would be held in every police precinct house. We would then be trusting more than a million people with access to that key to abide by the rules. Government agencies don’t always have the best of track-records in doing that.

And Microsoft has just proven my point, even with code that was never intended to leave the company’s possession …

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