Why Apple / iPhone were right not to cooperate with the FBI in the San Bernardino terrorism case

Jay Leiderman
By: Jay Leiderman
October 10 2016

Why Apple / iPhone were right not to cooperate with the FBI in the San Bernardino Terrorism case; viewed in Light of the NSA hack

A while back, Apple had been ordered by a US court to help the FBI access data – or, in other words, hack their own device – on an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino gunman Rizwan Syed Farook. Farook and his wife killed 14 people in the California city and were subsequently shot dead at the scene by the police. This occurred late last year.

The FBI said that the phone contained information crucial to the investigation into the terrorist incident and that they needed Apple’s help to unlock it. Apple devices are encrypted by default – and have been since September 2014 – and no one other than the owner of the device can gain access without the passcode. The encryption Apple uses is one of the top in the world and that is great news for anyone who appreciates their privacy, but not such good news for law enforcement agencies.


Once a device is locked, the only way to open it is by entering a password or by using the biometric finger scan.  If the erase setting is on, the data will be deleted once ten incorrect attempts have been made. The FBI wanted access to the contents of Farook’s iPhone and wanted Apple to do two things:

  • Make changes to the device Farook used, such it would be possible to make unlimited attempts at unlocking it.
  • Make it possible for the FBI to “brute force” attack the phone to speed up the time it takes to find the correct unlock code. Brute force (also known as brute force cracking) is a trial and error method used by application programs to decode encrypted data such as passwords or Data Encryption Standard (DES) keys, through exhaustive effort (using brute force) rather than employing intellectual strategies.Farook uses a four digit PIN code, which means there are 10,000 possible combinations.

Apple contested the court order, which was based upon a statute from the 1700’s and Tim Cook wrote an open letter to customers explaining the attitude of the company. The letter, in part, reads as follows:

The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.

The Need for Encryption

Smartphones, led by iPhone, have become an essential part of our lives. People use them to store an incredible amount of personal information, from our private conversations to our photos, our music, our notes, our calendars and contacts, our financial information and health data, even where we have been and where we are going.  [see Riley v. California, 573 U.S. ___ (2014), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court unanimously held that the warrantless search and seizure of digital contents of a cell phone during an arrest is unconstitutional.]

All this information needs to be protected from hackers and criminals who want to access, steal, and use it without our knowledge or consent. Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in their power to protect their personal information, and at Apple, “we are deeply committed to the protection of their data.

Compromising the security of our personal information may ultimately put our personal safety. That is the reason why so important for all encryption has become for us.

“Compromising the security of our personal information may ultimately put our personal safety. That is the reason why so important for all encryption has become for us.

“For many years we have used encryption to protect the personal information of our customers because we believe it is the only way to keep their information secure. We even we found this information from our own range because we believe that the contents of your iPhone are none of our business.”

The Terrorism Case in San Bernardino

“We were shocked and outraged by the deadly act of terrorism in San Bernardino last December. We mourn the loss of life and want justice for all those whose lives were affected. The FBI asked us for help in the days after the attack, and we have worked hard to support the efforts of the government to solve this terrible crime. We have no sympathy for terrorists.” Said Apple.

“They went on: “When the FBI data requested in our possession, we have the information. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the case of San Bernardino. We also have Apple engineers to advise available to the FBI, and we have our best ideas on a number of investigative options offered at their disposal.

“We have great respect for the professionals of the FBI, and we believe that their intentions are good. Up to this point, we do everything within our power and done within the law to help them. But now the US government has asked us to something we simply cannot, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor for the iPhone.

“In particular, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, bypassing some important security features, and install on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software – which does not exist today – would have the potential to unlock an iPhone in one’s physical possession.

“The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use is limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

The Threat to Data Security

Some argue that the construction of a backdoor for just an iPhone is a simple, clean-cut solution. But it ignores both the basics of digital security and the sense of what the government requires in this case.

In today’s digital world, the “key” to an encrypted system is a piece of information that unlocks the data, and it is only as secure as the protection around it. Once the information is known, or a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by someone with that knowledge.

Apple has the right to reject this judgment, because what it says is too valuable to lose the game. The government essentially asking Apple to eliminate a crucial feature of the iPhone security and create a key that can unlock any Apple device.

The government wants us to be confident that it will only use this power for good – to protect its citizens against the bad guys – but there is no way this backdoor will not be misused and abused.

While Apple has argued the government’s request could endanger consumer privacy at large, the U.S. has said that it’s asking the company for something quite narrow: tools to crack one iPhone. FBI director James Comey wrote earlier this week that the agency “doesn’t want to… set a master key loose on the land.”

In its new filing, Apple says the U.S. is making that claim even though “the government itself falls victim to hackers, cyber-criminals, and foreign agents on a regular basis.”

A Dangerous Precedent
“Rather than asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority.

[28 U.S. Code § 1651 – The All Writs Act]

the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority.

(a) The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.
(b) An alternative writ or rule nisi may be issued by a justice or judge of a court which has jurisdiction.]

“The government would have us remove security features and add new capabilities to the operating system, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by “brute force,” trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.

“The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.

The recent NSA disclosures of hacking tools

One Saturday in August came breaking news that a mysterious group of hackers calling themselves “The Shadow Brokers” claimed to have hacked an NSA-linked group and stole several NSA hacking tools with a promise to sell more private “cyber weapons” to the highest bidder. This mysterious online group claimed to have stolen US “cyber weapons” of a hacking team named Comparison Group. The claims have proven true.

The stolen hacking tools are used by the National Security Agency and the violation of its systems and tools led to a boast by the Shadow Brokers that it has access to a number of secret tools of the agency. In the latest twist, the group is now selling copies of these tools online.

Here are the things you need to know about the fallout

“We will give you some free Equation Group Files,” the Shadow Brokers proclaimed in messages online that offer downloads for the code of the pilfered files. These include malware and hacking tools that are terrifying out in the open for anyone to use. Gone are the days of security thanks to a lack of proper security by the NSA and it’s contractors. Again (read: Edward Snowden). The reason for this, the Shadow Brokers say, is to prove that the information was real and devastating before they sell out the rest of the NSA hacking instruments gathered in the hack. The Shadow Brokers also said the Equation Group “do not know what is lost” and would offer the group the hacking tools for a price, so it will not disclose the data.

“do not know what is lost” and would offer the group the hacking tools for a price, so it will not disclose the data

“The first file contains close to 300MBs firewall exploits, tools and scripts under cryptonyms as BANANAUSURPER, BLATSTING, and BUZZ DIRECTION,” Kaspersky said in a detailed blog post. However, that post made clear that Kapersky saw file logs dated as far back as October 2013.

It is not quite known exactly what the group has access to, but it has a number of images of the files (and their structures) posted on social media. These are believed to come from the comparison group and is claimed to be a small part of what the Brokers have opened. Although messages on Pastebin, Tumblr, and Github have been removed, that still exists by the group on Twitter and Imgur.

Another hacker has claimed to have more of hacking tools stolen from the NSA. According to another technical report published again by security firm Kaspersky Labs, the leaked sophisticated hacking tools include digital signatures that are identical to those in the hacking software and malware that have been previously used by the Equation Group.

“Although we have neither the identity or motivation of the attacker, nor where or how they came to be stolen treasure, we can say that a few hundred tools from the leak share a strong bond with our earlier findings from the Equation Group,” said Kaspersky researchers in a blog post. More than 300 computer files found in the online Shadow Brokers archive have a common implementation of RC5 and RC6 encryption algorithms – which are known to have been used extensively by the Equation Group.

So, it appears that the NSA is working on tools that would access everything in the world.  Apple was right to keep our data secure.  Privacy may be a quaint notion, but it is the last refuge from an ever-encroaching government. Apple doesn’t need to help the US Government violate the privacy of our cell phones.  They seem to have that well in hand all by themselves.

16 thoughts on “Why Apple / iPhone were right not to cooperate with the FBI in the San Bernardino terrorism case

  1. Apple can re-do their encryption. Stopping terrorism is too important.

    The All Writs Act is a United States federal statute, codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1651, which authorizes the United States federal courts to “issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.”

    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Writs_Act
    And: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/ist/?next=/smart-news/what-all-writs-act-1789-has-do-iphone-180958188/

  2. I urged my lawyer to come, he looked at me and asked, what is wrong? Gazing at him said, I don’t regret committing that felony against them I need to be punished lets go to court. Having no reaction, looking disoriented he opened the door walked me to his car & drove to court. Standing opposite the judge I stared at him bluntly, he was reviewing my report looked at me ushered to sit in the box to be persecuted. The defense lawyer aware of my crimes seemed intrigued and asked, madam what caused you to retaliate against your Spirit & Soul?.
    Reason is a libertarian monthly print magazine covering politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews.

    Lawyer, Attorney, Law Firms, Attorneys, Legal Information. Lawyers.com

    Content from PoetrySoup.com. Read more at: http://www.poetrysoup.com/poems/best/lawyer
    Copyright © PoetrySoup and Respective Poets.

  3. Susan Marie Basko✡ (also known as Batshit Baskocase Sue, Solange Soleil and Suehappy Basketcase for short) is a known belligerent attorney at lol who has been involved in and lost over 9,000 cases in Internet Court. She is also an IRL lawyer with a license to practice law in California and Illinois (note: NOT in New York). She claims to be Catholic but her actions are closer aligned with Scientology than Catholicism. Sue Basko is roughly equivalent (but superior to) what might happen if Mike Sandy and Daniel Brandt mated.
    Whether you’re a potential target of swatting and need to be reminded to never allow the police inside, need someone to harass the family members of those internet terrorists known as the Rustle League, or are just being bullied by The Man, Sue Basko is the only Internet Lawyer you will ever want to call.

    Well, Basko was this completely spaztic fucktard who we were all lol’oing at when this aaronsocio scrub got arrested. I came up with the idea to email her saying that we are aaronsocio’s lawyer and that her services are no longer needed. She flipped out and eventualy ginger brooks told her that it was us so she made like 50 blog posts about us one in particular saying that a transgendering man was trying to steal her jewgold which spiraled into epic fucking lulz. After that she came after f0rsaken got got her dawks dropped including ssn and continued to make blogposts as we harassed her and I made sock accounts to trick her and get into her timeline by making her believe that I was someone working against the Rustle League. As of now, she just subtweets us saying how antisemitic we are and how we are going to hell for masturbating and being criminals online
    Yeah, and now she’s going on about some shit about making a video with this fucking autist who sounds like the guy who sucks dicks for cheeseburgers in cartoons.„

    —Shm00p’s take on the Rustle League/Basko saga.

    Basko invokes Godwin’s Law, because making fun of Sue Basko is totally the equivalent of killing 6 million Jews.

    During the Occupy Wall Street protest, our favorite undisputed queen of the legal realm spent a lot of time weeding out FBI plants among the people who were actually there to protest, even though, according to her, her own brother Gabriel is an FBI agent. It’s really too intricate to lay out in this article without making the more ADHD-addled readers get bored and search for the Offended page, so all of Sue’s deathless prose concerning her anti-COINTELPRO work.

    IRL Harrassment Service

    For those with especially persistent cyberbully problems, Sue will go the extra mile and turn to extrajudicial means, as any good lawyer would. However, what separates Sue from the rest of the pack, is that in addition to e-mailing the cyberbully’s parents, she has been known to sub-contract out to IRL witches and have hexes placed on specific targets. In the cases that have gone public, the hexes have been performed by no less a figure than The Second Coming of Jennifer Emick herself, Kamonra. To provide an analogy that veteran EDiots may understand, Sue plays Daniel Brandt to Kamonra’s Amorrow in this dynamic duo of Internet justice.

    Work with convicted felons

    Another of Basko’s henchmen is a relative nobody and convicted felon named Joseph A Camp. In 2009, Joseph and a classmate decided to RAT boxes on their University of Central Missouri’s network so that they could add funds to their college accounts, change grades, and steal/sell databases. Naturally, since they were skiddie fucktards who had only been on HackForums for 3 weeks, and thus didn’t know the first thing about hiding behind 7 proxies, they were immediately fucked in the ass in the back of the partyvan, then shipped off to prison for more nonconsensual buttsex.

    Occupy Peace

    Bright side of life
    Occupy Peace is a crappy blog where Sue Basko offers advice on how to organize a peaceful protest or occupation in the United States. She frequently derails her own blog with unfunny off-topic posts because she lacks self-control and doesn’t respect her readers who don’t care about personal drama. She desperately hints to journalists that she wants media coverage, not so she can help others exercise their freedom of speech, but instead to cry about people saying mean things to her.

    “If any journalists wish to cover this story, I have vast amounts of evidence of all I am writing about, including thousands of screen shots, pictures, recordings, videos, and more. I can also provide the names and other info on many of the perpetrators.„

    —Sue Basko, a desperate plea for attention.

    Sue Basko has issues with self-confidence and writes delightful walls of text detailing what a wonderful “bright side of life” type of person she is, making it clear that violence and pornography are immoral. The amount of effort she puts into making herself look good only proves that she is extremely self-centered and very insecure about her image. Susan should seek the assistance of a trained professional and become a survivor of her shortcomings.

    Professional victim
    After Sue Basko manages to talk about something other than herself, she begins communicating with her claws and fangs, revealing a deep hatred for Encyclopedia Dramatica, Rustle League and Doxbin. At this point her writings read like a liberal’s wet dream of white middle-class Americans. That’s correct, those who contribute to Encyclopedia Dramatica don’t understand satire and are definitely racist.
    Susan insists that she’s been attacked over the last couple years despite no prior dealings with these sites or trolls. What she will never acknowledge is that she goes out of her way to draw attention to herself by writing off-topic rants on her blog and tweeting like a crybaby on a daily basis. The only way Sue Basko maintains what little sanity she has left is to convince herself that she is a victim, because without that crutch, she would be admitted to the nearest psychiatric ward.

    “They hold a type of malicious racism and antisemitism that I thought had long ago disappeared from society. I am continually shocked to see their displays of the most vicious, repugnant forms of racial hate, of the sort I associate with the KKK or with the days of Nazi Germany.„

    —Sue Basko, oh that’s original.

    Expert advice
    Susan worries that nobody takes her seriously and to compensate for that she repeatedly mentions that in two states she is a licensed attorney. After doing extensive research, our e-lawyer has reached the conclusion that subjects of articles on Encyclopedia Dramatica tend of the “smart, nice, good people.” Susan also warns that contributing to Encyclopedia Dramatica or linking to an article is a crime.
    Being a computer expert, Sue Basko has determined that people who visit Encyclopedia Dramatica will immediately have malware installed onto their computer. She goes on to speculate that said malware may be used to take control of webcams, log key presses or install a botnet.
    Enemies of the Lulz can finally rejoice, Sue Basko discovered Encyclopedia Dramatica’s offended page and offers EDiots some free legal advice. The images there are not only shocking and horrific, but also illegal! She is probably referring to the picture of Limecat.
    The purpose of Encyclopedia Dramatica isn’t to document internet drama, but to harass, coerce and extort its victims. According to Sue Basko anyways, and she isn’t going to stand by and watch as people’s lives, especially hers, are destroyed by the hate wiki. She’s made it clear she knows the identities of various contributors, but is withholding this information pending a DOJ and FBI investigation. Hopefully justice will indeed be served, because Susan has informed us that the harm done to her by Encyclopedia Dramatica can never be undone. Sue Basko is also a medical expert and has determined her health has also been damaged beyond repair, all because some jackass on the internet said something mean about her.

    Sue Basko paints a very polarizing picture of herself as a humanitarian. While she crafts the image of herself as a hero for anyone who feels they’re a victim of stalking, copyright violation, or harassment, she takes a very questionable stance toward supportive parents of children with serious mental diseases.

    Many parents today want a diagnosis of autism spectrum for their child, not only because there is a great deal of funding allocated for services for those children, as the news article explains, but also because this qualifies the child or family to collect a good SSI payment each month.

    Basically, Sue believes that parents are actually going out to get autism diagnosis for their kids just so they can reap the government SSI benefits that are paid to these mentally disabled children. Are all these kids pretending to be aspies just so their parents can make an easy living, Sue?
    Once she was called out for her atrocious insensitivity and hypocrisy, she proceeded to delete her comment, use her personal Twitter account to defame the woman who called her out on the comment, and insist that the entire thing was made up. Unfortunately for Sue, the woman had taken a screenshot of the disgusting comment before she could remove it.

    Sue was also called out for this by another person on her Facebook page, and she decided she would attempt to defame the person (who was legitimate and had a genuine concern) by calling them a bully with a fake name attempting to troll her. Sue ended up deleting this comment as well, but not before it was also saved in a screenshot.

    So aside from losing her image as a good person with compassion for fellow humans, she is now exposing herself as a paranoid drama queen who thinks anyone who opposes her diluted views on life are bullies, fakes, or trolls, and need to be promptly reported to the FBI.

    Copyright thief

    Sue specializes in copyright claims, and has extensive first hand experience in stealing the intellectual property of others. Basko Law™ will work hard to prevent others from stealing your hard work, utilizing the knowledge she has gained from countless years of making minor edits to other people’s work and claiming it as her own. The cover photo of her former Twitter account is a perfect example of her work in action.

    Sue Basko: Tree Whisperer

    Did you know that Sue is an accomplished artist herself? She’s the mastermind behind the chart-topping smash hit “You Know The Trees.” The song is an epic tale of meeting a well-traveled man who talks to trees and shares their glorious insight with the listener. It would be a shame if we spoiled this masterpiece for you any further, so prepare yourself to experience the greatest song ever made, sang by Basko herself.

    If you’re like most people and can’t understand what the hell Sue is saying in this psychedelic drug-inspired song, FEAR NOT. The lyrics have been transcribed so you too can swallow a bag of magic mushrooms and sing along. Don’t forget to have a chat with some trees afterward!
    Sex Life

    It has also long been suspected that Sue is a serial masochist and only acts out online in an attempt to gain sexual gratification from being demeaned by thousands of random, anonymous strangers. As a result, experts theorize that Sue has developed a myriad of sexual fetishes and fantasies that would gain her immediate social ostracization if she were to ever allow these to be made known to the general public. Some of these theories include:
    Since the estimated age of 14, Sue has had continuous fantasies of being sexually assaulted. This is most likely a result of Sue’s need to develop an interest in human sexual relations while at the same time coping with the crippling depression associated with her low self-esteem.
    Sue Basko often does a poor job of cleaning her anus after defecation as the constant potential of being anally raped encourages her to maintain a dirty anal cavity with the intent of giving “shitdick” to whomever may find themselves inside of her.
    Sue has been known to hang around various “glory holes” located in the Chicago area.
    Sue has lost countless marbles, wooden pencil erasers, and other such objects in her body during masturbation.
    Sue Basko often sneaks into public men’s rooms so that she may rub her body against the unwashed toilet seats to gain sexual gratification.
    Sue has created and distributed several recordings of her engaging in bestiality. These revolving films are too immoral to be linked here, but know that they have been forwarded to American authorities.
    Sue Basko has volunteered at homeless shelters where she mixed her own pubic hair into the meals served to unknowing homeless men.
    Sue Basko has been known to use “bath salts” as an aphrodisiac.
    Unfortunately for Sue, even the most vile of perverts find her too repugnant to even consider fornicating with.

    What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated Magna cum Laude and earned my Juris Doctor at Southern Illinois University School of Law, and I’ve been involved in numerous COINTELPRO operations on Occupy and Anonymous, and I have written over 300 cease and desist letters. I am trained in internet lawfare and I’m the top lawyer of the entire Internet. You are nothing to me but just another FBI informant. I will sue your balls to the wall with fabricated evidence the likes of which has never been seen before on Twitter, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying my name over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of autistic script kiddies across the USA and your chat logs are being reported to the FBI right now so you better prepare for the defamation lawsuit, troll. The defamation lawsuit that wipes out the pathetic little website you call Encyclopedia Dramatica. You’re fucking sued, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can sue you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with this Twitter handle. Not only am I extensively trained in media law, but I have access to the entire archive of Twitter and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the Internet, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have locked your Twitter account. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You’re fucking Basko’d, kiddo.

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