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Blackberry Crime Government Iphone Privacy Security Software Apple News Hardware Technology Your Rights Online

What Apple Can Learn From BlackBerry Not To Do (informationweek.com) 150

dkatana writes: There is no shortage of news about the fight between Apple and the Justice Department to unlock the iPhone of a suspect in the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist case. Apple can take a page from the fight BlackBerry had back in 2010 with some governments in the Middle East and Asia. At that time -- afraid to lose a lucrative business -- RIM [gave] in and allowed those governments to access its secure BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) service. The rest is history. If Apple complies with the Justice Department request, according to Craig Federighi, senior VP of software engineering at Apple, "[This software -- which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones --] would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all."
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What Apple Can Learn From BlackBerry Not To Do

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm English, title sentence makes my brain hurt...

    • Re:Title (Score:5, Funny)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @09:55PM (#51705249) Journal

      I'm English, title sentence makes my brain hurt...

      I've taught English, and the title sentence makes me want to go to Vegas, shoot heroin, have sex with nasty hookers and then drown in a swimming pool.

      My life has been for naught.

      • Just in case some Slashdot editor with a fourth grade education notices this headline and fixes it, I want to preserve it for all time. Here it is:

        What Apple Can Learn From BlackBerry Not To Do

        Yes, someone actually made that headline.

      • by c ( 8461 )

        I've taught English, and the title sentence makes me want to go to Vegas, shoot heroin, have sex with nasty hookers and then drown in a swimming pool.

        My life has been for naught.

        Yes, but your death inspires us all.

  • What nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @09:24PM (#51705113)

    The reason Blackberry went under has absolutely nothing to do with it opening up the platform to the government. It had everything to do with the instability of their server infrastructure.

    I get the fact that you guys don't want Apple to open up its platform to the government, but this story is downright dishonest.

    If you want to do away with the government then go live on an oil rig. Until then, the government will always have more power than you would like. That's life.

    • Re:What nonsense (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AchilleTalon ( 540925 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @10:35PM (#51705433) Homepage
      Exactly. Unfortunately /. is publishing a lot of faked news about the Apple vs DOJ case which are only an opportunity for Apple groupies to show off. Some of them seems to believe /. is the platform of choice to raise an army against the DOJ. I'm just tired of that shit. So, if this f... legal procedure can reach an end asap, I will be glad to return to business as usual on /.
      • I would generally be happy if Apple were to take a flying fuck in a rolling doughnut, but they are 100% right on this issue — that is to say, they are right in every way in which it is possible for them to be right. Economically, morally, logistically, they can not create this software.

        • by Jack9 ( 11421 )

          > logistically

          Slow down there. It's completely reasonable for Apple to make it. Security holes are trivially simple to introduce in an update.

      • This is business as usual on Slashdot...
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      AC re ' Until then, the government will always have more power than you would like. That's life."
      The US is not a Star Chamber https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] allowing a gov or bureaucrat to conscript a brand to create a master key to unlock an entire generation of devices. Thats why the US has a few protections like the Fourth Amendment
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution so papers can be kept secure from tyranny.

      As far are the government access to telco
    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @05:02AM (#51706333)

      I get the fact that you guys don't want Apple to open up its platform to the government, but this story is downright dishonest.

      One particular dishonesty is that Apple creating a modified iOS "would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc"

      That is PR spin. The FBI, hackers, criminals, etc do NOT need Apple to create the software. All are perfectly capable of tampering with binaries as people have been doing for decades. The ONLY thing that stops such efforts is that the firmware is expecting the software to be digitally signed. The only thing the FBI really needs from Apple is to sign the FBI's tampered iOS binaries. That's it. Having Apple modify iOS is just a convenience, not a requirement.

      However *** IF *** the court forces Apple to comply then Apple should make the modified iOS. This way they can lock this modified iOS to the one device in question. The FBI, hackers and criminals could not tamper with this lock down either. This modified iOS is just as tamperproof as original iOS due to the digital signature. With this lock down the FBI would need a new court order for each new device.

      The only scenario that leads to havoc is if Apple does not do the code and lets the FBI tamper with the binaries, then there will be no lock down to a particular device. Once signed by Apple this FBI version of iOS could run on anything. This is why Apple must do the software, *** IF *** the court is going to force them to comply.

      This is a great example of a negative / negative decision.

      • I'm pretty tired but I'm having a hard time figuring out how I typed "favor" rather than "havoc". I'm going to blame autocorrection or something. :-)

        Apologies for the confusion ...
      • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @06:27AM (#51706507) Homepage

        That is PR spin. The FBI, hackers, criminals, etc do NOT need Apple to create the software. All are perfectly capable of tampering with binaries as people have been doing for decades. The ONLY thing that stops such efforts is that the firmware is expecting the software to be digitally signed. The only thing the FBI really needs from Apple is to sign the FBI's tampered iOS binaries. That's it.

        No, that's downright the problem itself. Apple gets either forced to make a statement they don't want to make (e.g. creating the new binary), or they are forced to sign a statement someone else makes and thus declare it their own statement. That's simply unconstitutional. And that's why the Fourth Amendment comes into play.

        • by Megol ( 3135005 )

          Making a binary isn't a statement, pretending it is = lying.

          • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @08:40AM (#51706857) Homepage
            Legally, code is (protected) speech. And the Freedom of Speech means that you are also allowed to keep silent if you don't want to speak.
            • Legally, code is (protected) speech. And the Freedom of Speech means that you are also allowed to keep silent if you don't want to speak.

              Untrue. Your right to remain silent is in the context of self incrimination. If you are not under legal jeopardy you can be compelled to speak. For example when parties to a crime are granted immunity from prosecution so that self incrimination no longer applies and they can be forced to speak.

        • That is PR spin. The FBI, hackers, criminals, etc do NOT need Apple to create the software. All are perfectly capable of tampering with binaries as people have been doing for decades. The ONLY thing that stops such efforts is that the firmware is expecting the software to be digitally signed. The only thing the FBI really needs from Apple is to sign the FBI's tampered iOS binaries. That's it.

          No, that's downright the problem itself. Apple gets either forced to make a statement they don't want to make (e.g. creating the new binary), or they are forced to sign a statement someone else makes and thus declare it their own statement. That's simply unconstitutional. And that's why the Fourth Amendment comes into play.

          Its an act not a statement. And I believe the courts have compelled acts like "unlock this door".

      • Well they can't modify iOS without the source code and build system unless you want them to modify the binaries directly. In that case, though, they'll need some sort of emulation environment so that they can debug it and find what patch to make to disable the device wiping. This is not an easy task.
        • Well they can't modify iOS without the source code and build system unless you want them to modify the binaries directly. In that case, though, they'll need some sort of emulation environment so that they can debug it and find what patch to make to disable the device wiping. This is not an easy task.

          Agreed, its not easy. But its in the realm of their capabilities. Just like those who create jailbreaks.

          • This is at least an order of magnitude harder than a Jailbreak. In a Jailbreak, you have full physical control of the device (unencrypted), find a defect in the operating system, and then exploit it. This is by no means easy but it's still simpler than actually creating a patched version of the OS that passes code signing and placing it on the device when you have no source and no access to the signing keys. Finding a jailbreak would be the easiest step in a multi-step process. And it's a risky process
            • This is at least an order of magnitude harder than a Jailbreak.

              Not a problem, do you think the government lacks resources? Either internal or outside contractors?

              Look at CPUs. In particular the Motorola PowerPC used in many generations of past Apple Macintosh computers. It was such a cleaner design than Intel x86, much easier to improve for greater performance. And yet it failed performance wise compared to Intel. Not because the PowerPC itself failed to improve, but because no one imaged that the x86 design could ever be competitive due to the complexity of its des

      • Even if they lock it to a specific serial number / UID, the legal precedent is set. Then every district attorney with an iPhone in their evidence locker starts filing paper with their local judge. Apple gets buried under orders to do the same. In order to cope with these orders, Apple internally makes it easier and more streamlined to comply, which implicitly means granting more access to the signing keys.

        Then it's only a matter of time until those keys are leaked / stolen / compromised. We've been down

        • Even if they lock it to a specific serial number / UID, the legal precedent is set. Then every district attorney with an iPhone in their evidence locker starts filing paper with their local judge. Apple gets buried under orders to do the same.

          Agreed, but what is the alternative? An FBI coded tampering of iOS that has no such check and no court oversight. Assuming Apple loses in court and is forced to comply in the first place.

          In order to cope with these orders, Apple internally makes it easier and more streamlined to comply, which implicitly means granting more access to the signing keys. Then it's only a matter of time until those keys are leaked / stolen / compromised. We've been down this road before, and that is exactly what Apple is fighting.

          Signing is probably already automated to avoid as much human interaction and human error as possible. It is probably already procedure within Apple that iOS updates are fed into a locked down signing server black box that signs and returns the update. No human actions are involved.

    • Re:What nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Maury Markowitz ( 452832 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @07:23AM (#51706595) Homepage

      "The reason Blackberry went under has absolutely nothing to do with it opening up the platform to the government"

      Indeed. In fact, one can clearly point to the *exact second* where BB died.

      You've all seen the 2007 iPhone "are you getting it" moment, right? Well when Lazaridis showed that to Balsillie the day after the intro, Balsillie somehow managed to utterly fail to understand that the technology was better. When Lazaridis pointed out they had a real browser, Balsillie's takeaway was that Apple had a better deal with AT&T. It was entirely viewed through the lens of carrier incentives. And that was something he knew about, and geared up to come up with better license deals. That they also needed a better phone never crossed his mind.

      A few days later he was quoted in the Canadian press saying something along the lines of "Apple doesn't know phones". I knew they were dead.

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      The reason Blackberry went under is because their devices looked increasingly antiquated compared to iPhone / Android devices and even after they produced a smartphone platform it still flopped because it lacked the apps. They should have concentrated on their value added services instead of throwing money into a pit trying to sustain their own OS.

      Now they're finally producing an Android handset they might turn things around. They still have to convince businesses that their device is secure and offers bu

    • > The reason Blackberry went under has absolutely nothing to do with it opening up the platform to the government. It had everything to do with the instability of their server infrastructure.

      I'll disagree: Both were signs of some fundamental failures at Blackberry, and a failure to understand the desires of the growing market for smarter, portable devices., That included more bandwidth, reliable service that could be used by even fools, and a sense of personal security for private data. The "security ha

    • Re:What nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @09:06AM (#51706993) Homepage Journal

      If you want to do away with the government then go live on an oil rig.

      You're kidding, right? An oil rig can't even exist without a government. Without protection, someone would show up to take it away from you in a hot second.

    • I live in the UAE. The moment it became known that BB gave their keys to the government, everyone dropped their BBs and bought new phones.
    • Also, Blackberry has always allowed legal access to secure servers. What "legal" means can vary from Country to Country. However they have absolutely shown that when that "legal" interpretation is beyond what they think is acceptable, they have made business decisions counter to simply profit. Pakistan for example, wanted full access to all live communication. Not being comfortable with that, Blackberry withdrew all business from Pakistan. That is taking more of a stand than anyone else, with the exception

  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @09:27PM (#51705133) Homepage Journal

    If the situation is as described in a recent statement attributed to Tim Cook, then this is a completely fake issue. In summary, that quote said it would only take a few man-months to produce the software that the FBI wants. If so, then it is barely conceivable the FBI lacks the resources to have created it already, and it is dead certain that the NSA (and foreign counterparts) already have it.

    So why the charade? Evidently to make suckers (AKA you and me) think that there is still some privacy out here where the peasants live.

    Also, perhaps because they've decided it's politically expedient to make Apple look bad with this juicy and loaded situation.

    Don't look at me. I'm getting so ultra-paranoid that I think Snowden was a sincere patsy who revealed exactly what the NSA wanted us to know and Michael Hastings car was hacked, too. If I still had a vote, I might be approaching the level of craziness required to vote for Trump and "government of the Donald, by the Donald, for the Donald" just on grounds of simplicity.

    • by raftpeople ( 844215 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @09:33PM (#51705169)
      It's a few man months for Apple because they have the source code and understand it. The FBI would have a very large job to create the modified version of the OS if they didn't have the source code and Apple's help.
      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        The security of the source code (and the signing keys) is important, and that is much of the reason that I am uncertain whether the FBI could do the job themselves. Nevertheless, I don't think the active cooperation of Apple is nearly as important as having sufficiently competent people working on the problem, and I don't think Apple has any monopoly there. However, the FBI does apparently have sufficient acumen to have identified an approach that will work, according to Apple's own statements.

        (Based on wha

        • As you said, the NSA is likely able to compromise the iPhone today. That said, the FBI's motive is to obtain convictions. To do requires the presentation of evidence in open court. The FBI can't collaborate with the NSA, even if the NSA would play ball, because the defense would have a field day with the NSA's blatant Executive Order 12333 violation. For those following along at home, EO 12333 specifically forbids action by the intelligence community against "US persons". Snowden's disclosures have made abu

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So why the charade?

      Because this "charade" will set legal precedent. And even if Apple is completely in bed with FBI/NSA/etc., having the law favor non-gimped encryption will benefit anyone else in the industry who refuses to play along. Like Lavabit.

      Apple may be big, but this issue is bigger.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If the situation is as described in a recent statement attributed to Tim Cook, then this is a completely fake issue. In summary, that quote said it would only take a few man-months to produce the software that the FBI wants. If so, then it is barely conceivable the FBI lacks the resources to have created it already, and it is dead certain that the NSA (and foreign counterparts) already have it.

      So why the charade?.

      This has everything to do with legal precedent.. There was never anything more here.

      This has everything to do with legal precedent.. There was never anything more here.

      This has everything to do with legal precedent.. There was never anything more here.

      Enough with the bullshit about illusions of privacy or secretive NSA capabilities.

      This has everything to do with legal precedent.. There was never anything more here.

      Sorry, had to say it once more for good measure and common fucking sense.

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @10:36PM (#51705439)

      If the situation is as described in a recent statement attributed to Tim Cook, then this is a completely fake issue. In summary, that quote said it would only take a few man-months to produce the software that the FBI wants. If so, then it is barely conceivable the FBI lacks the resources to have created it already, and it is dead certain that the NSA (and foreign counterparts) already have it.

      So why the charade? Evidently to make suckers (AKA you and me) think that there is still some privacy out here where the peasants live.

      Also, perhaps because they've decided it's politically expedient to make Apple look bad with this juicy and loaded situation.

      Creating the software is only half the battle -- they also need the signing keys so they can get the software onto the device.

    • You just suggested that Apple have mislead the public when they implied that currently their systems are secure because if their systems could be compromised right now they would know about it given their intimate knowledge or their code and information technology in general. i.e. They know what is possible more than you ever could, and they have said nothing to suggest that the FBI request is redundant.

      i.e. In seeking to support Apple you have actually condemned them as probable collaborators.

      You are
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Apple made it possible to update the phone firmware while the phone is fully encrypted. So they brought this onto themselves.

        Hopefully they fix this in a future update. Once they do this, they can 100% say they can't assist.

    • If the situation is as described in a recent statement attributed to Tim Cook, then this is a completely fake issue. In summary, that quote said it would only take a few man-months to produce the software that the FBI wants. If so, then it is barely conceivable the FBI lacks the resources to have created it already, and it is dead certain that the NSA (and foreign counterparts) already have it.

      The FBI doesn't have the signing keys. Without them, writing new code doesn't help because the phone won't accept it.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      There is no doubt the government could get at the info it needs without Apple. The problem is that it would cost a lot of money and time. It's much better for them if they can strong arm Apple into being their bitch.

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        There is no doubt the government could get at the info it needs without Apple. The problem is that it would cost a lot of money and time. It's much better for them if they can strong arm Apple into being their bitch.

        Perhaps a better way to make my point, but not limited to Apple, while I would limit it to certain authoritarian individuals within the government. I think most of the individuals working for the government are like most other people, basically nice enough, and there are even some principled folks among them who understand our Constitutional rights, their implications, and even want to defend them. I suspect most of the problem lies with leftovers of the big dick Cheney, who deliberately and quite diabolica

  • by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @09:30PM (#51705153) Journal
    As a 600 pound gorilla it thought it could dictate where the market should got and got a painful lesson by customers that decided that touch-screen smartphones was what they wanted in their pockets
    • by leonbev ( 111395 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @09:56PM (#51705253) Journal

      Not the mention that Apple's fanbase is insanely loyal. Caving to the FBI's demands will cost them a few privacy minded buyers, but the general populace doesn't really care enough to make it a deciding factor on what phone to buy.

      • by qbast ( 1265706 )
        After all we are talking about the same people who will turn over all private data about themselves to Facebook without blinking.
        • There is a difference between demographic fluff that FB wants and communications that are deliberately encrypted. Privacy is not black and white - unlike the argument for why we need privacy.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As a 600 pound gorilla it thought it could dictate where the market should got and got a painful lesson by customers that decided that touch-screen smartphones was what they wanted in their pockets

      Oddly enough, no one can replicate a fucking BB keyboard, and people still use the damn things JUST for that reason today.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Oddly enough, no one can replicate a fucking BB keyboard, and people still use the damn things JUST for that reason today.

        Actually, they can't replicate it because BlackBerry has patents on it. The key shapes and feel have been heavily patented, and BlackBerry has sued many phone and PDA manufacturers over the years who attempted to copy the keyboard layout and design. (Did you know? BlackBerry has a patent on the way the keys are angled).

        It's not that no one can replicate the feel of the BlackBerry keyboar

    • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @07:58AM (#51706695)

      It wasn't touch screens so much as phones that weren't ridiculously over priced calculators.

      BlackBerry devices have been technically inferior from a CPU/RAM/OS perspective since the iPhone was released. They were only cool before hand because no one had email, so the shitty ass crap that BlackBerry pushed was awesome because the alternative was no email (or windows mobile, which was effectively the same :)

      When the iPhone came out with a real browser and email client, the only chance BlackBerry had was to make a REAL smart phone, not that crap that had less power and resolution than a TI graphing calculator.

      Then Android landed ... and then there wasn't just one awesome smartphone on the market, there were hundreds ... (awesome compared to the BB devices if nothing else) ...

      And they kept on with that shitty device that didn't get real email, got some fucked up version of a text email that they created ... wasn't even just the text portion of the message, some mangled version they created from html. And web browsing ... seriously. iOS has a full browser. Android has a full browser. BB had ... a text based browser?

      It wasn't the touch screen ... lots of people wanted a physical keyboard and would have been fine with a smaller touch screen ... but they did want their fucking email and web pages to look like email and web pages, and for page refreshes to not be so slow they were visible draws.

      The BB devices were just pieces of shit, and even at the end of their falling apart, they were still far inferior to the competition.

  • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @09:30PM (#51705159) Homepage

    Blackberry stopped being popular because it sucked and the iPhone didn't, not because of some 2010 Middle East decision.

    • Re:Not really (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @09:57PM (#51705255)

      Not really.

      I worked at BB during all this.

      BB got done in because iPhone was hot and shiny, but the feature set was laughable. It didn't even have copy paste! Unfortunately, Apple is good at convincing the first set of users to say the first generation product is great even though it's shit (first Gen iPad was shit too, didn't even have a camera). Then Apple fixes most of the screwups in the next generation model (copy and paste was added to OS 3) and because first gen Apple users said their shit product was actually great (because they bought it as a fashion/lifestyle statement, they pretty much have to) the users that buy for features come out of the woodwork.

      It was this second generation of product that was really the issue. BB employees were right to laugh at the first gen iPhone, it was a total piece of crap. Problem is, Apple isn't dumb and they fixed the major issues. BB didn't see that coming, and should have. And instead we release the Storm, because hey, compared with the first gen iPhone, it's just as shitty.

      Everything after that was a bad game of catchup until BB 10. By that point users ignored BB and were happy with an inferior product (BB 10 had features you simply couldn't get from other phone OSes and still can't get, and it even ran Android apps). Which is the second wave of other bad phones managing to outpace BB by quickly improving and already having a base set of users.

      Honestly, it sucks, because now I'm stuck with a shitty Android phone, and BB has basically torn the BB 10 dev team to shreds. Not to mention that John Chen has decided that security is a bad idea. It's disappointing because at this point I feel I've had to take a step backwards from BB 10 to android because BB is toast. I suppose in 5 years Android might get some of the features BB 10 had.

      TL;DR: BB doesn't react fast enough to customer needs, BB isn't willing to put out a shitty initial product and hope users like it, then fix it later.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Dude BB10 is still shit

      • Re:Not really (Score:4, Insightful)

        by harperska ( 1376103 ) on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @10:58PM (#51705523)

        Not really.

        I worked at BB during all this.

        BB got done in because iPhone was hot and shiny, but the feature set was laughable. It didn't even have copy paste!

        BB got done in because they thought that an extensive feature set was all people care about, when it turns out people would rather have a device that does a few things really well than a whole bunch of things half-assedly.

        Unfortunately, Apple is good at convincing the first set of users to say the first generation product is great even though it's shit (first Gen iPad was shit too, didn't even have a camera). Then Apple fixes most of the screwups in the next generation model (copy and paste was added to OS 3) and because first gen Apple users said their shit product was actually great (because they bought it as a fashion/lifestyle statement, they pretty much have to) the users that buy for features come out of the woodwork.

        It was this second generation of product that was really the issue. BB employees were right to laugh at the first gen iPhone, it was a total piece of crap. Problem is, Apple isn't dumb and they fixed the major issues. BB didn't see that coming, and should have.

        Thing is, anybody who pays attention (as you rightly state BB should have) would know that this is Apple's M.O. For years, ever since the return of Jobs, whenever Apple would introduce a new product line, the first generation was lacking in one way or another. Each subsequent generation would be iteratively improved and polished to eventually become a pretty good product. Every single Mac line and every iDevice followed this pattern. So no, BB employees were not right to laugh at the first gen iPhone, because if they thought an iPhone 5 years down the road would have exactly the same quality and feature set, and therefore was all they would have to compete against, they were fools.

      • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 )

        "TL;DR: BB doesn't react fast enough to customer needs, BB isn't willing to put out a shitty initial product and hope users like it, then fix it later."

        I have a box of Blackberrys which can attest to this. BB put out a shitty initial product and hope users like it, then promise to fix it in the next hardware, but only well enough to realize that even with the fix it's still shit because something else is broken.

        This goes to one of Apple's greatest innovations in the Smartphone area. Telcos never rel

      • Not really.

        I worked at BB during all this.

        BB got done in because iPhone was hot and shiny, but the feature set was laughable. It didn't even have copy paste! Unfortunately, Apple is good at convincing the first set of users to say the first generation product is great even though it's shit (first Gen iPad was shit too, didn't even have a camera). Then Apple fixes most of the screwups in the next generation model (copy and paste was added to OS 3) and because first gen Apple users said their shit product was actually great (because they bought it as a fashion/lifestyle statement, they pretty much have to) the users that buy for features come out of the woodwork.

        It was this second generation of product that was really the issue. BB employees were right to laugh at the first gen iPhone, it was a total piece of crap. Problem is, Apple isn't dumb and they fixed the major issues. BB didn't see that coming, and should have. And instead we release the Storm, because hey, compared with the first gen iPhone, it's just as shitty.

        Everything after that was a bad game of catchup until BB 10. By that point users ignored BB and were happy with an inferior product (BB 10 had features you simply couldn't get from other phone OSes and still can't get, and it even ran Android apps). Which is the second wave of other bad phones managing to outpace BB by quickly improving and already having a base set of users.

        Honestly, it sucks, because now I'm stuck with a shitty Android phone, and BB has basically torn the BB 10 dev team to shreds. Not to mention that John Chen has decided that security is a bad idea. It's disappointing because at this point I feel I've had to take a step backwards from BB 10 to android because BB is toast. I suppose in 5 years Android might get some of the features BB 10 had.

        TL;DR: BB doesn't react fast enough to customer needs, BB isn't willing to put out a shitty initial product and hope users like it, then fix it later.

        That is an oversimplified account of it. Having been a Blackberry user I thing Blackberry went under simply because they made phones with a layout that users did not like but most of all they went down because the software on their phones simply sucked ass in a multitude of ways.

      • I think it's this perspective that got BB in trouble. BB was consistently better for business and iPhone was consistently better for recreation. Companies bought their employees BB and they went out and bought their own iPhone. This seemed like a good situation since both Apple and BB got paid. But then companies realized that everybody had their own iPhone and that the incremental value to the corporation wasn't enough to pay when they could just have employees use their own devices. Plus the improved
      • By that point users ignored BB and were happy with an inferior product (BB 10 had features you simply couldn't get from other phone OSes and still can't get, and it even ran Android apps)

        Obviously those features were not exactly important to most of the BB user base, or to other smart phone users, considering it was no reason to stick to BB or interesting enough for other smart phone OS makers to copy.

        People that want to run Android apps generally prefer an Android phone. Your argument makes me think of the good old OS/2 which failed "even though it could run Windows applications" (and when doing so indeed crashed less often than the then state-of-the-art Win 3.1). It is just a poor fix for

      • The first gen iPhone was easy to use. It may have been much more limited than a BB, but it did what it did very well. I had one for three years, when the screen didn't recognize touches everywhere any more, and found that it pretty well did what I wanted it to without fuss. Within its limitations, it was great, and many people found they didn't mind the limitations. I didn't buy it as a fashion or lifestyle statement. I haven't bought anything for that since my Casio calculator watch (and that's not t

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Blackberry stopped being popular because it sucked and the iPhone didn't, not because of some 2010 Middle East decision.

      Blackberry stopped being popular because consumers stopped giving a shit about privacy.

      It's also the reason they don't stand a chance at making a comeback regardless of the outcome here.

  • Imagine that device encryption keys were disintegrated across a peer-to-peer network such that a high number of users could unanimously authorize the unlocking of a single device. The idea is that it would be possible to unlock a protected phone, but it would require a mass consensus.
    • Or just have the keys sent back to Apple when a phone is locked so they can decide whether to unlock it for someone?
      • Well you can't transmit the keys in their entirety to anyone anywhere, even if they're Apple- they have to be exploded out into thousands of pieces so that the pieces are useless until they are deliberately re-assembled by the masses. If all it takes is a single authorization, it is completely vulnerable; if it takes 100,000 authorizations, it is very much harder to compromise.
      • Apple has the ability to run arbitrary code on every iphone in the world, at will. They don't need your pin code, they can just install spyware in your phone.
    • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

      Imagine that device encryption keys were disintegrated across a peer-to-peer network such that a high number of users could unanimously authorize the unlocking of a single device. The idea is that it would be possible to unlock a protected phone, but it would require a mass consensus.

      Doesn't that have the same weakness as Tor? Control (or monitor) enough exit nodes and you can do traffic analysis.

      Own (or control) enough phones and you can unlock any phone.

      • Perhaps, but the keys are only distributed once.
      • Ah, you mean simply infect enough phones and control their vote to unlock. Yep, that particular risk is the challenge.
        • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

          Ah, you mean simply infect enough phones and control their vote to unlock. Yep, that particular risk is the challenge.

          No need for Malware when you can just control the phones - there are 21M government (federal+state+local) workers, so just have them all install "device management software" that can send unlock codes.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Most real people won't care. Allowing fake people controlled by government agencies to make the rules.
      What you propose is like a jury trial but without a system ensuring active participation and that people are indeed people.

  • Piffle (Score:3, Insightful)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <onyxruby@@@comcast...net> on Tuesday March 15, 2016 @10:12PM (#51705319)

    Blackberry withered on the vine because they refused to accept and embrace change. They refused to adopt the Android OS, insisting on their proprietary OS years after the market had moved on. If Blackberry had embraced Android from the get-go they would be the Samsung of the cell phone world today.

    They failed to realize that their previous market of corporate issued communication devices was no longer the only de facto market. People had a choice and spending a small fortune on a device that couldn't play angry birds vs a much cheaper device that could was a no-brainer.

    Just another company that thought they could corner the market through their proprietary bit. Their moves with opening up their platforms to third party governments only very narrow use cases. /supports Apple's crypto fight

    • Blackberry withered on the vine because they refused to accept and embrace change. They refused to adopt the Android OS, insisting on their proprietary OS years after the market had moved on. If Blackberry had embraced Android from the get-go they would be the Samsung of the cell phone world today.

      Android was developed because of BB's collapse of market share and the Google's fear of Apple's complete dominance in the mobile market. BB's demise started with their refusal to develop a touch screen only device. The keyboard made sense for their email heavy corporate customers but for the general public sending a few 256 character badly spelled SMS messages a day, a reliable and comfortable input device was of far less importance than the convenience of a large touch-screen.

      • Android was conceived and under construction by Google before the the iphone was even on the market.

        http://www.androidcentral.com/... [androidcentral.com]

      • Blackberry withered on the vine because they refused to accept and embrace change. They refused to adopt the Android OS, insisting on their proprietary OS years after the market had moved on. If Blackberry had embraced Android from the get-go they would be the Samsung of the cell phone world today.

        Android was developed because of BB's collapse of market share and the Google's fear of Apple's complete dominance in the mobile market.

        ... which has now been replaced by Google's complete dominance of the mobile market. Hmmmm... let's see here... fire.... frying pan... I can't quite decide which version of monoculture hell I'd rather be stuck in.

        • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

          ... which has now been replaced by Google's complete dominance of the mobile market. Hmmmm... let's see here... fire.... frying pan... I can't quite decide which version of monoculture hell I'd rather be stuck in.

          Google doesn't have complete dominance. Apple is still strong and most importantly, Google doesn't control all of Android.
          Google controls the Play Services, the rest of Android (AOSP) is free software. There are plenty of Android devices that are totally de-Googlified, especially in China.

  • Is it specifically illegal to build a self-destructing safe? Is it some kind of a requirement that all safes be made crackable?

    A lot of better safes have multiple defenses -- drill-resistant layers, thick steel, re-locking mechanisms to resist physical force. In theory, a plasma lance or other exotic cutting tools and enough time could get through anything, although many of the methods themselves run the risk of destroying the contents.

    But what if you combined all that with some mechanism that would destr

    • IF the contents can survive being frozen, dump the safe in liquid nitrogen for a while. Crack it open with a hammer.

      Good luck finding something that will incinerate below 63K

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        That's easy to defeat, either through sheer size or installation location.

        A generic small gun safe (not the tin boxes with a lock) is 600+ pounds. I would assume that my theoretical safe would be at least as large if not larger -- thousands of pounds. And bolted into a foundation or someplace where moving it would be impossible.

        Liquid nitrogen immersion wouldn't help anyway with a safe with glass relockers, as breaking it after freezing the steel would break the glass relockers, triggering the destruct me

    • Or even just a self destructing message like those used in the Mission Impossible shows and movies. We can't have information that would be available if a warrant were issues to be gone now can we? I guess we next have to outlaw shredders and any type of fire as well.
  • It might be possible for Apple to comply with the FBI's request AND prevent any future requests. Treat this as a "professional services" engagement, and announce that Apple is willing to unlock any iPhone that the government has legitimately seized - for the nominal fee of one BILLION dollars, in advance, in cash, per phone. No discounts, and no dickering; greenbacks delivered in armored trucks in exchange for one unlocked phone.

    • If Apple has the capability, they can be ordered to use it at a reasonable price. Apple either is legitimately ordered to or not, and if Apple is legitimately ordered to break it they may charge only reasonable expenses.

  • This software -- which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones --] would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all.

    No. That is PR spin. The FBI, hackers, criminals, etc do NOT need Apple to create the software. All are perfectly capable of tampering with binaries as people have been doing for decades. The ONLY thing that stops such efforts is that the firmware is expecting the software to be digitally signed. The only thing the FBI really needs from Apple is to sign the FBI's tampered iOS binaries. That's it. Having Apple modify iOS is just a convenience, not a requirement.

    However IF the court forces Apple to comply

    • > This way they can lock this modified iOS to the one device in question.

      That's not what the FBI is asking for, and it's not clear that's even feasible. Public/private key authentication for software updates usually has nothing to do with identifying the individual target device, and I'd be very surprised if Apple is maintaining a set of public keys for every device they manufacture that could be used for that kind of device specific software upgrade management.

      • > This way they can lock this modified iOS to the one device in question.

        That's not what the FBI is asking for, and it's not clear that's even feasible.

        The check would be done in code. The code could check the UDID of the device and decline to run if it is not the expect device. It doesn't matter if its not what the FBI is asking for, if is Apple doing the work they can insert the UDID check.

  • What is the history? Was there a problem that specifically related to Blackberry providing the back door or does this refer to the general demise of Blackberry?

  • Providing access to BBM (a messaging app) is completely different than making the OS unsecured. BlackBerry doesn't allow access to the OS and neither should Apple. And even then, there are two different versions of BBM - the 2nd being an enterprise version where the organization can make its own keys to the encryption that even BB doesn't have access to.

    It amazes me how stupid people are in this debate. There's no way a government should force backdoors into these devices.

  • There are lots of comments, some by BlackBerry insiders, that shed light on why BB went under.

    But here is an expose by a reporter (who later turned this into a book).

    Inside the fall of BlackBerry: How the smartphone inventor failed to adapt [theglobeandmail.com]

    Basically, BB refused to see Apple's iPhone as a threat. They were too arrogant. They failed to see the concept of having a store where apps are uploaded by developers. Not once! But twice! First with Apple iPhone in 2007, then with Android in 2008, and for years after th

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