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Purpose unclear. Why are the FBI *really* trying to subvert encryption? « The InfoSec Blog
The InfoSec Blog
18Feb/16

Purpose unclear. Why are the FBI *really* trying to subvert encryption?

Tim cook says Apple will fight a federal order to help the FBI hack an iPhone.  

An earlier version of this page has a paragraph which seems to have been deleted later;

It was not immediately clear what investigators believed they might find on Farook's work phone or why the information would not be available from third-party service providers, such as Google or Facebook, though investigators think the device may hold clues about whom the couple communicated with and where they might have travelled.

Is that "Whom" grammatically correct?

This does raise a 'why' in my mind.
Cant the other service providers (who would it be, AT&T, Verizon?) supply the 'traffic analysis of who they communicated with? Isn't this the sort of "metadata" that the government spies are supposed to be collecting?

Opening the phone won't give the content of the messages past, they are gone like the snows of yesteryear[1]. Dead as the author of that famous quote.

So what are the FBI looking for? The address book? I'm not sure how helpful that will be and its likely to cast suspicion on innocent parties.

For example, I could have "potus@whotehouse.gov" in my address book, but that doesn't mean I've ever been in contact with POTUS.

So what are the FBI really after here?

Its much more likely to be a legal precedence than actually extracting useful information from the handset. And while this case law will only apply to the USA, its existence reinforces the case for subverting or abolishing encryption based on the needs for LE and the governmental controls in the name of the War On Terrorism in other counties.

All in all, the US government is making it hard for Apple.
There have been any number of stories, SF, social, political, in the last century, of corporate entities taking over from Governments in one way or another. Apple certainly has an asset base greater than the GNP of many counties, pays more taxes in the USA than some countries' GNP.  There's certainly no reason that Apple couldn't relocate to a more
corporate-friendly nation. heck, even Canada would qualify, and we have a well educated work-force, many of the social amenities that Bernie Saunders is pressing for and more. Of course many programmers might prefer a warmer climate after California. There are many possibilities.

Apple reported a *profit* of over $53 BILLION last year. net tangible Assets are over twice that. The profits are less than the GNP of Malaysia last year according to http://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/gross-national-product
Well, considering the politics there, perhaps not the best alternative place for Apple to relocate 🙁
With the falling Euro, English speaking countries like Ireland become candidates.

See also
http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/infopays/rank/PNB2.html for "normalised to US Dollars".

Well you go crank the numbers. If both Apple and Microsoft were to relocate to Ireland the world economy would take a radical shift and it would not be to the benefit of the USA. lets not forget that centuries ago many individuals and business entities fled to the Americas because the governments in Europe made life too harsh for reasons of oppressive
racial, religious and business attitudes. One of the rallying cries of the American revolution was "no taxation without representation". Mind you, many groups in the UK were being taxed more harshly than the colonies. Some of then eventually decided to emigrate.
I don't understand why the American establishment, or that of any other country for that matter, thinks that people won't "vote with their feet". And that goes for corporate entities as well as people.

Right now, the USA has been living on the Military Keynesianism  of the  for so long it taken for granted. So much so that most journalists think that the economy is based on consumer acceptance of hi-tech.

Now the "war" has spilt over consumers and businesses that were never considered part of the military establishment. Apple is facing legislation in New York and California that effectively bans the sale of its handsets. From the consumer's point of view this is about privacy and eventually government intrusion. Generally, in the past, the people USA, like those of most western democracies, have only tolerated government intrusion into their private lives under conditions of war.
Perhaps that's why the government agencies in all those countries and more are playing up "The War On Terror". The fact that in doing so they are actually terrorising their own populations more effectively than the "terrorists" is beside the point.

If Tim Cook decides to put Apple beyond the reach of the FBI I wouldn't be surprised. he may get support for such a move from many unexpected quarters.

 

[1] The line "where are the snows of yesteryear" appears in a ballad in the middle of François Villon’s "Testament”, a long, otherwise irreverent poem skewering French noblemen, priests, and prostitutes.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was one of the first to translate the famous ballad into English, coining the word “yesteryear” to capture the sense of the  French “anten” or “antan,” which means “last year” but also “once” or “in the past.” This is just one vowel away from "Anton", which is how I explain its relevance when I quote it.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Anton Aylward

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