Tag - Department of Justice
While the San Bernardino "FBI vs Apple" case may have been dropped, the repercussions of both the FBI's initial aggression in the case, and its ultimate actions there, have had ripple effects; both on the national debate over encryption and privacy, as well as in other court cases where the agency -- along with the US Department of Justice -- continue to try and force Apple to disable or compromise its security. In a new filing arguing in favor of a Brooklyn court ruling that Apple was not obligated to crack its own iPhones, Apple points to the San Bernardino case in arguing that the agency has not "exhausted" all avenues, a key requirement of the All Writs Act the FBI is trying to use to force Apple to cooperate.
Recently-revealed court documents show that -- in three similar court cases where the US government was attempting to decrypt seized iPhones by seeking to force Apple's compliance using the All Writs Act -- the score at present is win, lose, and draw. A court in Brooklyn flat-out rejected the US Department of Justice's appeal to force Apple to weaken its security, though the government is appealing the decision. In San Bernardino, the FBI won an initial order, but later retreated from the case; and it turns out that in the Boston gang-activity case, the judge did order Apple to assist the FBI -- but specifically excluded decrypting the suspect's iPhone contents, or developing a way to decrypt, from being part of the order.
Apple has confirmed reports that it will not sue the FBI in an effort to get the agency to reveal the method it used to crack into the San Bernardino iPhone 5c, saying whatever method the FBI ended up using will have "a short shelf life," as the company has made significant improvements to security in later iPhones and operating system updates, and users upgrade their iPhones routinely. In a related case brought by the US Department of Justice in New York, however, Apple may require the FBI to reveal the method in order for the agency to prove in court that its claim that the hack doesn't work on newer iPhones is true.
Those who might think the battle between the FBI, US Department of Justice, and Apple over privacy and security is over -- because the FBI withdrew its case on a claim that it found another way into a seized iPhone -- are wrong. Indeed, this battle has only just begun, and the public -- at least those who paid attention to this fiasco and understand the implications of it -- are taking up arms in the form of even-more secure apps, switching over to iOS from other platforms, and generally amping up their personal security as much as possible. Governments are going to hate it, but they only have themselves to blame.
[Update: government has now filed for withdrawal from the case] Ahead of the required April 5 progress report, USA Today is reporting that the FBI and US Department of Justice will withdraw its legal action against Apple, in which it was seeking to use the All Writs Act to compel Apple's assistance in hacking into a work-issued iPhone 5c given to San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook. An unnamed official said that the method of bypassing the security features preventing the agency from "cracking" the device's security has been successful, and the agency has now officially filed to withdraw from the action.
Following the vacating of an evidentiary hearing in the Apple-FBI encryption fight in San Bernardino, the iPhone maker is asking the judge in a similar case it is fighting against the US Department of Justice in Brooklyn, New York for a delay. Apple says the new developments in the FBI case -- where the agency now claims it may have found a way to "crack" a seized work iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino workplace massacre gunmen -- could materially affect the Brooklyn case.
If FBI Director James Comey did himself and his agency a great public good by striking a conciliatory tone about the FBI's dispute with Apple under oath at the recent congressional hearings, recent filings and public comments by the Department of Justice -- in particular, it's latest brief with the court, which ratcheted up the accusatory rhetoric, going as far as to question Apple's patriotism -- has not only undone that goodwill, it may have set any resolution back catastrophically. In a cover story for Time magazine, Apple CEO Tim Cook echoed his SVP and General Counsel Bruce Sewell, saying he was "deeply offended" by the recent filing.
While the politicians and American public remain divided on the difficult question of the balance between individual privacy and national security, an increasing number of security professionals -- including the current secretary of defense, counter-terrorism officials, former CIA and NSA leader, and other experts -- are siding with Apple on the importance of encryption, increasingly painting the FBI and Department of Justice as lone wolves who are inadvertently trying to wreck an important line of security defense.
Apple is not the only tech company that the Department of Justice is attacking over encryption, as prosecutors are setting their sites on WhatsApp, according to a report. It is claimed government officials are in discussions over how to deal with a wiretap order for a criminal case that applies to the Facebook-owned service, one that cannot be easily implemented due to WhatsApp's use of encryption to protect both messages and voice calls made over the Internet.
Apple Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Sewell has commented on the government's formal response to Apple's brief in the San Bernardino case, where the FBI has demanded that the All Writs Act be used to compel Apple to develop software that will help the agency decrypt a work-issued iPhone 5c used by one of the gunmen in the December 2 workplace massacre. Sewell said that the harshly-worded response has "thrown all decorum to the winds," and that the Department of Justice's insinuations about Apple's motivations are "demeaning."
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE