Technological Stones… or Lack Thereof

So about this US Government versus ‪‎Apple‬ debacle re: unlocking the San Bernardino ‪‎terrorists‬’ ‪‎iPhone‬…

It’s been confounding me as to the solution for a while now.

It falls into the broad national/global discussion that’s been going on since 9/11 as to what is the proper balance when it comes to ‎Privacy‬ versus ‪‎Security‬?

Is there even such a thing?

Or is it more like sailing a ship, where we know exactly where we want to navigate to, yet we continually have to make course corrections to get there…

Big question.

But as far as this phone debacle, I, like the not so fly Super Spy General Hayden, do not believe the government should be allowed a “key to the back door” into all encrypted phones/technology.

However, while listening to the ‎FBI‬ Director testify before ‎Congress‬ re: the debacle, he made a pretty eye-opening, yet pretty basic statement when considering our ‪Constitution‬ and our normal policing practices for entering a citizen’s personal places and spaces…
It’s called a ‪‎warrant‬.

The police can get a warrant to access a suspect’s home, car, storage locker, library account, etc….

Why cannot the police get a warrant to access a locked phone?


21 thoughts on “Technological Stones… or Lack Thereof”

  1. The police cannot get a warrant to access a locked phone, because the only key that ever existed is now dead (the terrorist). There is no key. It’s sealed for good. Apple would have to make a “master key” for all phones and give them that. Once such a key exists, 700 million iPhones can essentially be opened with that key.

    This is a great oversimplification, but I hope I made the point. There is no key, so a warrant is not going to help.

    • That’s a great overview, Norbert. Thank you. I should have said such in the post – it would have made things clearer.

      But yours is exactly the point. Until there is a better answer, it appears there must be a master key.

      Can anyone really expect that just because a murder suspect died, the police would or could never search his or her home?

      I may be wrong, but my understanding is that the FBI wasn’t even asking for Apple to break into the phone. They were asking that Apple manipulate the phone so the password attempts would be unlimited, thereby allowing the government as many attempts necessary at figuring out the password phone without it locking and erasing the data.

      There has to be a solution to this technological debacle where a legal warrant is able to be served and legally executed on any encrypted technology.

      Thanks so much for contributing to this discussion, my friend.

      • Well, what you’re asking for is a “golden key”. If Apple created an operating system that allowed unlimited tries, and there are only 10,000 combinations, any hacker could do it in a day or two. If I got a hold of that operating system (the golden key) and installed it on a device, then I could just sit there for a day or two, try all 10,000 combinations, and open the phone. Any stolen, lost or otherwise obtained phone could be accessed. THAT IS CALLED A BACKDOOR. If a backdoor exists, all doors are always open to anyone.

        • And any house can be broken into. Why are phones any different?

          I mean, if we have really important physical stuff in our house, we either by a home safe to put it in or stow it in a safe-deposit box.

          If a pervert keeps pictures of naked children on his computer, a warrant to search his home will cover it. Are you saying a pedophile should be allowed to safely keep such pictures on his phone without worry of a warrant?

          • No, I am not saying this at all. But you can’t have security for everyone but not for pedophiles. That’s the tradeoff in our society.

            If I knew my phone was not secure, I would not use it with Applepay at the grocery store anymore, I would not use it to buy coffee at Starbucks, I would not use it to access my bank account anymore. Heck – I would not buy a smartphone anymore. If we make them “unsecure” we’re killing that entire market segment. Those of us that know will stop using them. Those that don’t know will become crime victims by the millions. I am a software professional. Do you realize that if I WANTED to, I could then make a lucrative underground business stealing people’s stuff right out of their phone without them knowing it? How many hackers do you think are sitting in apartments in Russia ready to tap into your phone if it’s open?

            There is no half-measures here. For every single terrorist and pedophile hiding his stuff, there are a million unaware law-abiding citizens that are then wide open victims. We cannot allow that as a society.

          • Houses vs Phones: Houses keep your clothes, your TV, your stuff. Phones keep your entire financial life, your identity. Your phone’s content is hugely more vulnerable than your house. Besides, if houses could be built so they could not be broken into, we would have built them that way. Fortunately, with phones (computers) we have a way.

          • I am less concerned about your or anyone else’s ease and security of buying more stuff than I am of of the ease and security of terrorists and drug dealers and pedophiles or any other criminal to further their nefarious acts.

            If you want to have your freedoms to do whatever you want on your phones without worry, than it is incumbent upon business to create the technology to provide for your needs as well as society’s law enforcement needs.

            Good stuff, Norbert. We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one it seems. 🙂

          • Seriously? I am not sure this is about agreeing or not. If I told you that if I knew your phone number I could hack into your phone without your knowledge, listen to your conversations (since there is a microphone), watch your banking transactions you may do, that would not bother you? Just trying to understand….

          • Seriously. The government and/or any motivated nefarious soul can do that now outside of my mobile phone or computer. Landline phones were being tapped for many many decades, or people were being spied upon or stalked for many many centuries, etc. What is so special about the mobile phone? I just do not get it. I understand the capacity for data that it has, but that should not mean it deserves its own special protected category.

            I don’t mean to offend but it blows my mind that you don’t see this.

            Nor, apparently, will you ever see it so… shall we just put this discussion on hold for now? I am going to keep researching this topic and if my views change or if I find something new that I believe will add value to this discussion then I’ll pass it along. And I ask for you do to do the same. 🙂

            Ps… if you do feel the need to continue this discussion, please continue in a new reply box. I love this theme I’m using except for the way it threads the comments.

          • Why? No desire to delete – it’s an awesome discussion. I really enjoyed it… I just think we’ve reached a point of diminishing returns. As for the threading, I reduced the the number so it shouldn’t look as scrunched up now.

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