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Apple Won't Sue FBI To Reveal Hack Used To Unlock Seized iPhone (appleinsider.com) 43

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Apple will not pursue legal action against the US government to discover how federal agents broke into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Attorneys for Apple speaking on background during a media briefing call on Friday said that it believed the method used to unlock the iPhone 5c would be short lived. It follows similar comments by FBI director James Comey who said in a speech on Thursday that the hack used to unlock the encrypted phone works on a "narrow slice" of devices. Apple attorneys said that the company is "confident" that the security weakness that the government alleges to have found will have a "short shelf life." The FBI's hack in the San Bernardino case would not help agents access a newer iPhone 5s used by a drug dealer in New York, where Apple faces a similar case against the government.
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Apple Won't Sue FBI To Reveal Hack Used To Unlock Seized iPhone

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  • ...Then why do they need his phone? They're calling him a drug dealer already, so it sounds to me like they have a conviction already. However if they don't have a conviction and fail to get one, they're looking at some potential civil liability...

  • [Apple faces a similar case against the government] I find it very difficult to believe that Apple brought a case in New York state, asking them to crack an iPhone.
  • Apple is really just chicken shit. They should've sued the FBI
  • by brian.stinar ( 1104135 ) on Friday April 08, 2016 @07:53PM (#51872265) Homepage

    Doesn't it violate the DMCA, section 1201 which bans reverse engineering? [cornell.edu] I wonder if anyone could bring suit for the (potentially criminal) DMCA violations?

    • law enforcement is exempted from most laws, including the DMCA, dummy.
      see subsection "(e) Law Enforcement, Intelligence, and Other Government Activities." which is literally right above subsection "(f) Reverse Engineering."

      • Oh thank you, I missed that section.

    • Grabbing someone off the street and locking them up in your house is illegal, but the FBI can do that.

    • There's an "Encryption Research" exception that allows to develop products to sell legally is perfectly legal under the DMCA. Since the FBI cannot be sued under the DMCA under any circumstances (there's a whole "Law Enforcement" clause that says so), they are allowed to buy the encryption-cracking product and use it on any device they have the Legal Power to search. So neither the company (which is, IIRC, actually in israel making prosecution for DMCA-violations rather tricky), nor the FBI can be penalized

  • Title says it all. They should simply sue the FBI because it was illegal for them to subvert the device's security measures in the first place.

    • DMCA, section 1201.e [cornell.edu]

      (e) Law Enforcement, Intelligence, and Other Government Activities.—
      This section does not prohibit any lawfully authorized investigative, protective, information security, or intelligence activity of an officer, agent, or employee of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision of a State, or a person acting pursuant to a contract with the United States, a State, or a political subdivision of a State. For purposes of this subsection, the term “information security” means activities carried out in order to identify and address the vulnerabilities of a government computer, computer system, or computer network.

      • Yea, yea everyone sites that clause, but there's two things about its use in this case with which I take issue:

        1) It clearly caveats "lawfully authorized" without being clear about whether they mean the agents or their actions have to be lawfully authorized. In this situation I think there is a case to be made that the agents may not have been acting in a lawfully authorized fashion, because they were stepping beyond their authority in their initial request to Apple.

        2) This clause also seems to be only int

        • It takes real talent to fail at being a rules lawyer when you're talking about the legal system.

          There is no Constitutional principle that the designer of a product has to asked permission before law enforcement circumvents it's security features. If there was Kwikset would have to be consulted every time they broke down a door. In fact Apple's entire case against the FBI was all about it's absolute right to have absolutely nothing to do with hacking this particular phone.

          "Lawfully authorized" clearly means

  • Apple can't force the FBI to divulge security weaknesses it found any more than the FBI can force Apple to break into phones for them.
    • Well, also, Apple's engineers probably already have a pretty good guess as to how a previous-generation iPhone was hacked.

  • As consumers the wider buying population of telco products now has a feel for a backdoor in the hands of state/federal task forces, federal officials, ex staff, former staff, contractors and anyone who can afford expert help from ex staff and former staff.
  • omg, how can i do that?
  • It would be far easier, and cheaper, to simply pay the company who did it for the FBI vs a lawsuit.

    For that matter, they could also brib. . . . er. . . contribute campaign funds to those in Congress who were briefed on the matter.

  • I notice a distict lack of information as to what they found on it. If it had been something good they would be all over the news bragging.

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