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February 20, 2016

About the FBI's Request of Apple [Y-not]

There's quite a lot of confusion (no doubt intended) about what the government is demanding of Apple.

Here's a good round up from someone who is siding with Apple:


Put simply, the FBI wants Apple to write some code that disables the delay feature. That way they can stream passcode guesses to the device at (literally) the speed of electricity. This will clearly be much faster. But is it a good idea?

Once Apple has written this code it can be used with any iPhone. Some have proposed that the code specifically access one of the device's ID numbers. If you look at Settings/General/About you will see several unique ID numbers: a serial number, the IMEI number, the ICCID number, the MEID. Any or all of these could be used - assuming Apple knows those numbers. Remember, without knowing the passcode there's no way to access Settings/General/About. I simply don't know whether that information is included in backups to iCloud.

But it doesn't matter. Once the technology has been developed, there will be many, many demands to have other iPhones cracked. And, since the technology is mainly software, there's a good chance it will be leaked to the public. At which point hackers only need to figure out how to change those ID numbers. (Remember, this is the same U.S. government that gave away secret security information on U.S. government employees, many of whom currently or previously worked in the intelligence community.)

I tend to side with Apple, too.

The terrorists are dead. This investigation is about a (possible) collaborator, but since when has this Administration shown it is serious about stopping terror suspects even after they've been identified?

This does not appear to be a ticking time bomb scenario. Rather, it's a fishing expedition that could be readily abused.

**Hat tip @seanmdav on Twitter, by the way.**


Open thread.

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posted by Open Blogger at 09:08 AM

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