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Government threatens to force Apple to turn over iOS source code if it won't unlock Farook's iPhone

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Government threatens to force Apple to turn over iOS source code if it won't unlock Farook's iPhone
When the DOJ filled its response on Thursday to Apple's latest brief, it took a harsher tone than it had previously. The government threatened to take the entire source code to iOS and the "private electronic signature" that is required for access to the code. With those two items, the government will be able to build its own Govt.OS and unlock the Apple iPhone 5c that was used by deceased terrorist Syed Farook.

The government is convinced that there could be useful information inside the phone, including the name of a possible third shooter than some witnesses claimed to have seen. For its part, Apple says that building the special version of iOS that would satisfy the government's request would be like playing with fire. If the code were to get into the wrong hands, every iPhone user in the world would have the information they store in their handset vulnerable to being stolen. This battle could go on until the case finally reaches the Supreme Court. Whoever loses at the District Court level is bound to appeal.

As we told you the other day, Apple believes that the DOJ is getting desperate, which explains why the government's rhetoric bar has been raised. But Apple is also in attack mode as in-house attorney Bruce Sewell called the government's filing a smear job.

By demanding the iOS source code and electronic signature, the government is trying to be cute. They are presenting this as an option that Apple can choose from if it doesn't want to build the new OS to provide the back door that the government seeks.

"The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labor by Apple programmers."-Footnote to government's 35-page brief

Both Apple and the government will present their cases in front of a judge on March 22nd. 

Thanks for the tip!

source: NYPost

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107 Comments
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posted on 12 Mar 2016, 01:56 1

1. Unordinary (Posts: 1951; Member since: 04 Nov 2015)


Wasn't code recently passed as free speech under constitutional amendment....?

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 09:25 4

26. lyndon420 (Posts: 4555; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


You really think the government cares about the constitution? Like Obama said earlier the government has had the power to walk into your home and look through your underwear drawer for years, so giving up our phones should be easy by his logic.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 11:25 6

52. Unordinary (Posts: 1951; Member since: 04 Nov 2015)


A case this big being viewed by millions having constitutional law breached is definitely no panty raid.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 01:59 25

2. tech2 (Posts: 3475; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


'The government is convinced that there could be useful information inside the phone, including the name of a possible third shooter than some witnesses claimed to have seen.'

Does government actually think, the 3rd shooter is still in the country taking his chances and hoping for Apple to win ?

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 06:46 6

15. ZetZet (Posts: 22; Member since: 21 Apr 2015)


that doesn't matter, more names means more connections means more information, it's still a good chance that they find something that's why they won't give up. They aren't neccesarily trying to catch that guy, but his name might lead to more connections.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 09:48 9

30. Acdc1a (Posts: 268; Member since: 21 Jan 2016)


If you think the government CAN'T get into that phone, I have some land to sell you. This is some dangerous territory and for once I'm siding with Apple.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 10:04 3

36. ZetZet (Posts: 22; Member since: 21 Apr 2015)


They really can't. Even for Apple it would take some serious reverse engineering. That's why they want source code now.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 10:51 4

45. izim1 (Posts: 711; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


If you think the government actually has "hackers", like on TV shows, that are better than Apple coders, I've got some land to sell you.... You watch too much TV.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 18:01 1

81. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 3296; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


Hackers that a better than Apple's coders? That's already been accomplished given all the vulnerabilities a US government entity (CERT, https://nvd.nist.gov/ ) has already uncovered in apple's software:

bit.ly/1SswEXw

Welcome to earth...

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 18:51

83. izim1 (Posts: 711; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


I was going to ask if you were aware that that's not even close to being the same thing as the US government having better coders than the ones working for Apple, google, Microsoft, etc. But then I realized that the fact you posted this in reply means that you obviously don't....

... Come join us here on earth whenever you're ready, ok buddy

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 19:23 2

86. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 3296; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


Alright smartypants, what's your definition of "better coder"? One that works on iOS?

posted on 13 Mar 2016, 08:36

98. izim1 (Posts: 711; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Dude, for starters they outsource for those tests they run. They hire independent companies that specialize in exploiting software. Our company is one of those. They just record the findings. So right off the bat you're already in the wrong. As for "better coders", finding exploits is NOT, not even remotely, the same thing as building/decompiling/reverse engineering software. If you honestly believe that the government has people that can rebuild an OS, much less outmatch OEMs, then I don't even know where to start. I'm honestly hoping you're just arguing for the sake of arguing and you people don't really believe that because if you do then good god you'll believe anything and that's honestly pretty sad.... And before you ask, they can't outsource in this situation because Apple's, and google Microsoft etc, software is legally protected. Their only chance is to force their hand.

posted on 13 Mar 2016, 12:08

99. MrElectrifyer (Posts: 3296; Member since: 21 Oct 2014)


"Dude, for starters they outsource for those tests they run"

What makes you think apple's coders don't outsource? You think they thought of all the code in iOS by themselves?

"They hire independent companies that specialize in exploiting software"

Just like apple hires coders, so what's your point exactly?

"As for "better coders", finding exploits is NOT, not even remotely, the same thing as building/decompiling/reverse engineering software"

Lol, you're clearly naive...no wonder. FYI, an exploit (http://bfy.tw/1KJm ) takes advantage of a flaw in a computer system, you've gotta do reverse engineering (http://goo.gl/hHII5S ) to find that flaw...unless you're indirectly admitting iOS is so insecure, you don't need no coding skillset to find an exploit.

posted on 19 Mar 2016, 06:25

106. Cetekel (Posts: 7; Member since: 19 Mar 2016)


If you don't think the government has proficient coders working for them, you've obviously never heard of the NSA.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 02:14 27

3. Ankit_27 (Posts: 25; Member since: 20 Feb 2016)


I don't like Apple but it's really admirable to see them take a stand for people. They might have their business interest in mind but still it's a nice thing.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 11:38 5

54. LionStone (Posts: 753; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


You know, so easy to sit there and say those things and pretend to be admirable of Apple, but guaranteed, you'd be singing a whole different tune if it was your family that got wiped out by these terrorists! Or if it was Cook's family that got annilated, he'd have a different tune as well.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 12:21 13

57. nodes (Posts: 746; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


even the husband is siding with Apple in this case.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 14:10 1

68. LionStone (Posts: 753; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


You sure he just doesn't want closure and wants to forget about all of this?

posted on 19 Mar 2016, 06:27

107. Cetekel (Posts: 7; Member since: 19 Mar 2016)


Or because he doesn't want everyone's right to privacy to be relinquished because of a few people's deaths? Far more people die in car crashes, so according to your logic, we should just ban all cars.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 12:28

59. Dee79 (Posts: 281; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


People? These are animals! Actually that isn't nice to say about animals...

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 02:18 13

4. yoosufmuneer (Posts: 1507; Member since: 14 Feb 2015)


Guys this is a better news. Samsung has released the source code for Exynos 8890

http://www.sammobile.com/2016/03/11/samsung-releases-kernel-source-files-for-exynos-powered-galaxy-s7-edge/

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 10:09 2

37. zeeBomb (Posts: 2137; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)


Custom KERNELS GOGOGO!

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 13:04 1

62. belovedson (Posts: 998; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)


Too bad exynos is no longer in American galaxies. Meaning many of us aren't going back to Samsung

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 16:07 1

72. izim1 (Posts: 711; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Why? Many of you prefer lower performance? That Snapdragon smacked the exynos around in the majority of benchmark tests, including here on phonearena....

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 02:29 2

5. Mr_Popo (Posts: 17; Member since: 29 Feb 2016)


Time for iOS to go open source and encryption software to be standard on every android/iOS distro

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 02:41 1

6. Crims (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Mar 2016)


I think what really needs discussed here, does a company have the right to negate the government's ability to lawful search and seizure. Up til now it's it's mainly been a software issue with the government IT team finding a work around or brute force attack, but Apple has gone a step further with it's software/hardware combination and it's bricking capabilities. Literately erasing potential evidence.

I understand the whole issue with privacy and government overreach and it leaves me conflicted to justify what the government is doing. On the other hand, I would not want to see a world were the governments ability to carry out it's duties is dictated by a corporation. I don't see any good coming out of this either way.

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 06:17 9

12. joeytaylor (Posts: 463; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)


It is a complicated issue morally. ....but it boils down to....can the Government force Apple to make something that doesn't exist

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 08:03 7

21. o0Exia0o (Posts: 900; Member since: 01 Feb 2013)


If the wrong password is entered in to an iPhone too many times, it does not brick the phone. It wipes the phones internal storage.

Point being on this issue is had the FBI not had the SB Health department reset the iCloud password then this would not have been an issue and Apple would have been able to comply with turning over the "information" that the government is soo desperately seeking. I think this whole thing smells fishy, like the FBI kind of knew what they were doing in order to provoke Apple into building or turning over any information about a possible backdoor into iOS they might have and that does not sit well with me. That shouldn't sit well with anyone....

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 08:49 6

22. izim1 (Posts: 711; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Here we go again... Apple didn't do any of that. The issue here is encryption and security. The government messed up and locked everything up and are now demanding Apple make special software to break the encryption which the whole point of it, its sole reason for existing, is to be as impenetrable as possible. Apple isn't keeping the government from searching anything, in fact the said they would have helped if they government, who is now claiming the suspect magically did it after he was dead, hadn't messed with the phone. The issue here isn't that Apple is interfering or keeping the government from doing anything. The issue is what right does the government have to demand Apple make a special "governmentOS" that would bypass encryption. All encryption. Which, again, exists for the sole purpose of EVERYONE'S individual privacy. "Yeah privacy smrivacy, we need you to make the government a special way around all of that nonsense"

posted on 12 Mar 2016, 02:56 3

7. SPASE (Posts: 207; Member since: 03 May 2013)


For a moment, I read it as sauce code lol

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