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Encryption Government Iphone Privacy United States Apple Your Rights Online

Former NSA, CIA Director Michael Hayden Sides With Apple Over FBI (foxbusiness.com) 146

cold fjord writes: General Michael Hayden (Retired), who served as head of both the NSA and CIA, has taken a position supporting Apple in its conflict with the FBI. Apple is fighting a court order to assist the FBI in breaking into the government owned phone used by one of the two dead terrorists responsible for the recent San Bernardino massacre. General Hayden stated, "You can argue this on constitutional grounds. Does the government have the right to do this? Frankly, I think the government does have a right to do it. You can do balancing privacy and security dead men don't have a right to privacy. I don't use those lenses. My lens is the security lens, and frankly, it's a close but clear call that Apple's right on just raw security grounds. ... I get why the FBI wants to get into the phones but this may be a case where we've got to give up some things in law enforcement and even counter terrorism in order to preserve this aspect, our cybersecurity."
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Former NSA, CIA Director Michael Hayden Sides With Apple Over FBI

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  • Can we can bring him out of retirement and put him back in charge?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      He was in charge when most of the current Prism bullshit got put into place. You really think that is a good idea.

      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        It is almost as if.... a paycheck prevents a person from understanding things that would be detrimental to the reception of said check.... and removal of that income can help to bring these issues into focus, especially when you realize someone else is now at the reigns and has the power to do unto you with the powers you used to have to do unto others.

        • Re:Subject (Score:5, Insightful)

          by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @12:11PM (#51666585)

          I think the issue is a bit different.

          The FBI is basically a national police force. I've known a few cops, and their point of view has been all about solving and preventing crime. Even the ones I like as people... on these sorts of subjects it's like they're wearing blinders. Innocent people's privacy isn't a concern to them. Constitutional guarantees aren't a concern to them, except when it's been hammered into their heads as something they're required to do by the higher ups - not because they agree with those guarantees, but because they know it will mess up the eventual prosecution if they don't do it.

          Their job is to prevent and solve crimes, and anything that obstructs those two goals should be done away with (in their view).

          In a cop's perfect world, they'd be able to just walk into your house and look around. They'd be able to stop people on the street and frisk them. And of course they should be able to use license plate scanners, and have unrestricted access to the data forever.

          So of course they they think should be able to look through anyone's phone.

      • He was in charge when most of the current Prism bullshit got put into place. You really think that is a good idea.

        He was also in charge when the decision against the Clipper chip was made.

        The guy has one interest: National security. He doesn't care about privacy, about finding some kidnapper, anything like that. Just national security.

        So he tells everyone who wants to hear that what the FBI wants Apple to do is damaging national security. As I said, the guy doesn't do "think of the children", he does national security.

    • No, because he's an idiot:

      "You can argue this on constitutional grounds. Does the government have the right to do this? Frankly, I think the government does have a right to do it."

      Frankly, this clown is wrong.

      "You can do balancing privacy and security dead men don't have a right to privacy."

      Wrong again.

      "My lens is the security lens, and frankly, it's a close but clear call that Apple's right on just raw security grounds."

      Frankly, it's not a close call at all. (And this guy uses "frankly" way too often.)

      • The government has a right to read what's on the phone, given either a warrant or permission from the owner of the phone, which is the dead guy's employer. You can object to how warrants are issued, and I'd be with you there, but the government has a right to try to get any information with the proper authorization.

        What the Feds don't have is the ability to read what's on the phone, and the question is whether Apple should have to damage the security of their product to allow government fishing expediti

        • Permission from the owner of the phone would not give them the authority to search the user's personal files when there's an expectation of privacy, just like permission from a telco doesn't grant the government the authority to eavesdrop on all calls or permission from the post master doesn't let them open your mail. And the use of encryption is about as explicit a declaration of privacy as you can get.
          Further, they can't legally force the user to unlock the phone because of the 5th amendment. (Yes, judg

          • Do you live in the US? Many European nations have much stronger privacy legislation. In the US, if it's on the employer's equipment, the employer may access it. I don't see that this does any major harm; if I want to do anything personal that I want to keep private, I do it on stuff I own. The "Private" folder on my work computer contains stuff that I got a one-user license for, not anything related to my private life.

            It's also possible to ask for almost anything legally, given a search warrant. The

  • Translation... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Comboman ( 895500 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @09:43AM (#51665585)
    Translation... The NSA/CIA is already able to break into iPhones without Apple's help and we don't want to share our advantage with the FBI.
    • that part of the FBI that does regular crime, which this is vice that part of the FBI that does cyber...
    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Why is this modded interesting? It is pure conjecture.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Why is this modded interesting? It is pure conjecture.

        Uh, because it's interesting conjecture? Now if you were complaining about 'Insightful' mods you'd have a case...

    • Something is obviously up. Hayden is a liar with zero interest in the public good.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @10:08AM (#51665715)

    You can argue this on constitutional grounds. Does the government have the right to do this? Frankly, I think the government does have a right to do it.

    I disagree. I think the government doesn't (or at least shouldn't) have the right to compel companies to break security protocols on behalf of the government when that would affect parties other than the one under legal scrutiny. Furthermore it seems clear to me that this creates an unreasonable burden on Apple (or any other company) to support the government. I'm not sure the court in this case fully appreciates what they are asking from Apple. By breaking the encryption on this device they materially devalue the product Apple is selling substantially. I think you can argue this on at minimum 1st and 4th amendment grounds.

    it's a close but clear call that Apple's right on just raw security grounds.

    "Close"? No it isn't. Apple is clearly correct that breaking security for one phone breaks them all. That's how it works. Anybody with even a basic understanding of cryptography on computers would know this. If we break it for the US government we break it for foreign governments, black-hats, paparazzi, etc. There is no way to restrict it to just one specific party. Apple is 100% correct to do what they are doing. I'm not always a fan of Apple but they are both morally and technologically correct in their position here.

    • RTFA. He wasn't talking about Apple's position on encryption. He was saying the argument that the government should be allowed to force Apple to break the iPhone security. He said on Constitutional grounds the government possess the authority to force Apple to break the iPhone security. However, on cyber security grounds, the government should not do that because it would weaken our cyber security. Government's right versus Cyber Security, that's what is close. Law enforcement would gain but we would
      • He wasn't talking about Apple's position on encryption. He was saying the argument that the government should be allowed to force Apple to break the iPhone security.

        RTFA yourself. That is a distinction without a difference. Security = Encryption in this case. The iPhone's security relies on encryption. To break the iPhone security means to circumvent the encryption. By breaking or circumventing the encryption you make the encryption (security) immediately worthless on every iPhone in the process. Arguing that the government has a right to force Apple to break this security means that ALL citizens are no longer entitled to first and fourth amendment rights and the

        • By breaking or circumventing the encryption you make the encryption (security) immediately worthless on every iPhone in the process.

          Not quite. Nobody can break _the encryption_ of the iPhone. What the FBI wants Apple to do is to disable a feature where trying to brute force the passcode erases the phone after ten wrong attempts.

          If that feature is disabled, you can brute force the phone at a maximum rate of one key every 80 milliseconds. Which means 4 digit passcode security is broken (takes 15 minutes to brute force). 6 digit passcode takes two weeks to crack. 8 digit passcode takes two years to crack. 8 random lowercase letters take

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        RTFA. He wasn't talking about Apple's position on encryption. He was saying the argument that the government should be allowed to force Apple to break the iPhone security. He said on Constitutional grounds the government possess the authority to force Apple to break the iPhone security. However, on cyber security grounds, the government should not do that because it would weaken our cyber security. Government's right versus Cyber Security, that's what is close. Law enforcement would gain but we would lose s

  • Why is it that only former and retired officials have them, and never the current ones? Pure public relations bullshit.

  • Really, the guy is coming down on the side I think is right, for both 'security' and (of course) technological reasons, but I don't trust him, have this sneaking feeling that there is some hidden agenda, or that we're being misdirected somehow. Isn't that sad?

    Am I the only one that feels this way about this? Somehow I think not.

    See what you've done to us U.S. Law Enforcement and Government? You've fucked everything up so much that we can't trust anyone anymore, even when they agree with us.
    • Why? He was in charge of cybersecurity, fighting cyber terrorism. So he's position is unique. People are only thinking in terms of aiding an investigation with the premise of thwarting another attack. He provides a big picture prospective.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Michael Hayden presided over the increased Mass Collection "just in case" of innocent communications data. He essentially excremented on Magna Charta and the U.S. constitution.

        His reasoning was that "all that data is stored in a lockbox. It will only be touched when an analyst searches (like googleing) in the lockbox". Of course even if that is true they can ANYTIME change the rules. They can write algorithms which will do much more than the described search engine does. E.g. "give me all persons who ever c

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The "hidden agenda" has always been in public view. Follow the funding and the ability to be seen as having the only role to win missions.
      Recall PRISM. The NSA has its way into all the US brands and likes to be the one stop security gatekeeper of all such missions.
      The big brands let the US gov in by default, working with the US gov or the US gov found some always open way in that was always kept wide open..
      The ability to collect information, act on it and then decide who and how to share it with is wh
  • General Hayden stated, "You can argue this on constitutional grounds."

    I wasn't aware that ever worked.

  • by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2016 @10:49AM (#51665991) Journal

    there is something on the phone that implicates General Hayden as a terrorist!

  • Govt doesn't have rights.

  • The only reason this is happening, is that the key in question is expected to be unusually easy to brute force. (We think the user's passphrase was 4 or 5 decimal digits.)

    The general case is much harder, and it doesn't matter how much you beg/force a manufacturer or anyone else:

    1. With sufficiently tamper-resistant hardware, even the manufacturer can't help you perform a brute force attack. (If they can help, then the hardware is either defective or obsolete, depending on how harsh your views.)
    2. With decent keys
    • If the FBI gets the precedent set that Apple has to unlock the phone for them, then how long will it be before it's declared that all phone vendors must be able to unlock phones for law enforcement at any time? We're already seeing laws of this kind being proposed in some states. The precedent will grease these wheels and make the move towards stronger encryption risky for any device manufacturer.

      • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

        Suppose that happens. So what? FBI says to manufacturer: "unlock this phone."

        Manufacturer: "Sure thing. I will help you however I can. What model phone do you need help with?"

        FBI: "It's a 2014 or later model."

        "Oh. Sorry. I literally lack the capacity to help you, because that phone answers to its user, not us."

        This entire issue is sliding into obsolesence.

        • Except that "we don't support older phones" won't be a valid response to a court order of "unlock this phone." In addition, precedent will state that since Apple unlocked these phones before, they have the ability to keep unlocking it. Worst case scenario would be that the court says "ok, you don't need to unlock these old phones in the future - you just need to give the FBI a universal unlocking program and THEY can unlock the phones."

          You do bring up a good point, though. Once this precedent is set, Appl

          • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

            I think you haven't read up on exactly what the court demanded Apple give the FBI, and why it will work on the iPhone 5C. Am I mistaken?

            • I have read what they wanted. The court ordered Apple to write software to a) remotely disable the "10 PIN tries and the phone is erased" feature and b) give the FBI the ability to make PIN attempts from a simulated USB keyboard (so they could automate PIN attempts). I just don't believe that it will stop here. If this is allowed and the next iPhone makes this impossible, the courts will just extend the request a little more and a little more. There seems to be an attitude in the FBI that all companies

  • there's ponies in that?
  • dead men don't have a right to privacy

    Is this true? is that the law in USA? ... If death makes private information easier to legally obtain, doesn't that make it very dangerous for the people still alive with private information? it's far easier to make people dead and then legally obtain their secrets than convince the courts that they have no right to privacy while alive.

  • This seems to be counter to his usual opinion.

Once it hits the fan, the only rational choice is to sweep it up, package it, and sell it as fertilizer.

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