FBI director: iPhones shields pedophiles from cops

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Apple’s new privacy features protect kidnappers, pedophiles and terrorists, according to FBI director James Comey.

In an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Comey said Apple’s encryption standards for iPhones and iPads “put people beyond the law.”

Apple (AAPL, Tech30) recently took measures to enhance user privacy. Now, only users have the key to unlock text messages, photos and emails on their device. As such, iOS 8 will shield your data from anyone — including police.

Here’s how it works: You send a text message that’s encrypted on your device. It passes through Apple servers as jumbled code nobody can crack. And it can only get decrypted by your friend’s iPhone passcode.

Google (GOOG) has announced it’s doing the same for its Android devices.

The FBI director isn’t pleased.

“The notion that people have devices… that with court orders, based on a showing of probable cause in a case involving kidnapping or child exploitation or terrorism, we could never open that phone? My sense is that we’ve gone too far when we’ve gone there,” Comey told CBS.

Comey compared selling iPhones to selling “cars with trunks that couldn’t ever be opened by law enforcement with a court order.”

But there are two things that are wrong with that statement:

1) The FBI can still get your phone data. Now, they can’t do it secretly by going to Apple or Google. Agents must knock on your front door with a warrant in hand — the way it’s always been.

If you don’t give the FBI access to your phone, it can ask a federal judge to force you. If you refuse, the government can throw you in jail and hold you in contempt of court.

The FBI and Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

Joel Kurtzberg is a New York lawyer who specializes in First Amendment cases (in which journalists often refuse court orders to disclose sources). He said the biggest difference now is that the FBI can’t be covert when it wants your data.

“This is going to make it harder for law enforcement. Now, they’ll have to tip off their target,” he said. “And it will result in instances where someone will destroy evidence.”

But even for the most dangerous cases, there are still workarounds. Video surveillance — the classic kind — can spy on someone as they type their passcode. And the NSA has technology to slip device-controlling malware into phones anyway.

iPhone 6 vs. Galaxy Alpha: Cost to make

2) Opening devices to law enforcement means opening them to hackers. When it comes to data, possession of a key is everything. If your passcode is the only thing that unlocks your digital life, then it doesn’t matter if the FBI presents Apple or Google with a warrant — or if hackers break into the company’s servers. They won’t get anything useful.

The FBI wants companies to keep a backdoor into your life. That’s a problem, because as Comey himself has said in the past, everyone is under attack by hackers.

As Comey said in a previous episode of 60 Minutes: “There are those who’ve been hacked by the Chinese and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked by the Chinese.”

Related: Kmart says payment systems hacked

“You can’t have it both ways,” said David Oscar Markus, a Miami defense attorney with expertise in police searches and seizures. “If there’s a backdoor, it can be exploited. The government shouldn’t get to pick and choose what’s protected.”

CNNMoney is investigating recent hacks. Have you had money stolen from your bank account? Has someone stolen your identity? Share your story.

Related: Snapchat isn’t private. Period.

Related: How safe are you? CNNMoney’s cybersecurity Flipboard magazine

 

http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/13/technology/security/fbi-apple/index.html

About the author

Related

With the passing of David Rockefeller and Trump's pro-USA policies, we're seeing a number of interests in alignment that point back to one thing: a Pre-Industrial isolationist America, as we saw during the 20th century, as opposed to a New World Order leader creating superstates and intervening in costly foreign wars. Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan - it all boils down to modern colonialism, a post-industrial colonialism; as we explain in our book Splitting Pennies.

The news, even the 'fake news' and 'alternative news' has been reduced to the bottom of the Maslow pyramid, personalizing things while dismantling the small amount of journalistic integrity that existed. The only next lower step is name calling "you are stupid-head, poopy face" or throwing food. Liberals are angry that Trump won, Trump supporters are angry that liberals are so angry, blacks are angry because one of their own is out; women are angry because a "Man" is President, what's next?

A declassified NSA draft titled Parapsychology: The COMSEC Threat and SIGINT Capability recently caught my attention when an excerpt was shared by researcher Michael Best. COMSEC stands for communications security, while SIGINT refers to signals intelligence. The six-page document, apparently composed in approximately 1981 and approved for release in 2011, may be viewed in full on the CIA website.

Follow Global Intel Hub

Follow GIH and get free updates on Global Intelligence, Analysis, and more.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.