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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Comixology fires up $6 all-you-can-read service
Amazon-owned Comixology has launched an all-you-can-read comic subscription service. After a 30-day free trial, for $6 a month, subscribers can draw from a large selection of the Comixology library, minus Marvel and DC comics. For now, the service is US-only. http://bit.ly/1WMAOft
QuarkXPress 2016 now shipping
Quark is now shipping QuarkXPress 2016, the newest version of Quark's graphic design and desktop publishing software that now features near-WYSIWYG fixe HTML5 publishing as well as improved operability with InDesign and Illustrator and support for multi-Color Gradient Blends, OpenType Stylistic Sets, a Color Picker (Eyedropper tool), Touchpads for Pinch and Zoom (Mac only) and more. Users on any previous version of QuarkXPress (versions 3-10) can upgrade to version 2016 for $350, while QuarkXPress 2015 users can upgrade to 2016 for $180; new licenses are available for $850 (education licenses are available for $90). http://bit.ly/1OL23Pu
Kanex debuts GoPower USB-C for MacBooks
Kanex today introduced its GoPower USB-C, a portable power solution designed to charge a USB-C MacBook on the go along with an iPhone or iPad simultaneously. Featuring 15,000 mAh of power--capable of charging an iPhone 6s seven times or the USB-C MacBook one full time--the GoPower USB-C Portable Battery features one 3A USB-C port and one 2.4A port for other devices, priority charging detection technology and a pass-thru charging to your devices when the battery is plugged into a power source. http://bit.ly/1TKaf8z
i.am+ EPs earphones are Apple Store exclusive
Musician turned consumer electronics entrepreneur Will.i.am has launched a new pair of Bluetooth wireless earphones, dubbed the i.am+ EPs. The new earphones are an Apple Store exclusive, and feature large 14mm drivers and aptX support for high-quality wireless streaming. The i.am+ EPs support A2DP controls, have a 30-foot range and can last up to six hours on a charge. The design is said to be inspired by the "iconic shape of vinyl records," and are made from spun metal and paired with a woven fabric cord. When not in use, the EPs magnetically click into place around the neck. The iam+ EPs are available now at select Apple Store and Apple.com for $230, are available in gold-on-black or black-on-black. http://bit.ly/1OKVlt2
Ultimate Ears debuts UE Roll 2 speaker
On Tuesday, audio accessory maker Ultimate Ears unveiled a new version of the UE Roll Bluetooth speaker. The new UE Roll 2, which sells for $100, looks identical to the previous version, but gets about 15 percent louder. In addition, the unit now supports a Bluetooth source signal up to 100 feet away, an improvement on the original's 65-foot limit. While both the old and new versions of the UE Roll offer an IPX7 waterproof rating, the company now includes a blow-up "floaty" with the speaker to avoid the risk of prolonged exposure. The new unit will begin general shipping next month. http://bit.ly/1TJWE0Z
Philips launches Hue White Ambiance bulbs
Philips latest HomeKit-compatible Hue light bulbs have hit the market. The new Hue White Ambiance bulbs are designed to allow users to control their color temperature to enhance either focus, or create a more relaxing tone. Combined with the latest update to the Philips Hue app, the new bulbs can be set according to user "routines." The "wake-up" mode gently turns up the brightness of the bulb, while conversely, the "go to sleep" mode gradually reduces the color temperature and brightness. The Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit retails for $130, while single bulbs sell for $30. http://bit.ly/1TJT3Qn
Pluggable Technologies three-display USB-C dock
Peripheral company Plugable Technologies today launched the industry's first wave of USB-C docking stations with both Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode support. The Plugable UD-CA1 Docking Station integrates support for both of these new capabilities, along with the full set of standard USB docking features like wired network, audio, and extra USB ports. Model UD-ULTCDL builds on this, adding support for three total displays using DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology. The UD-CA1 retails for $129, with the UD-ULTCDL selling for $179, and available soon. http://bit.ly/1TrVVTJ