US authorities are pushing Apple to assist them in unlocking phones and snoop around for evidence

US authorities are pushing Apple to assist them in unlocking phones and snoop around for evidence
"Surveillance" and "privacy" have been pretty strong buzz-words this past year. In light of Edward Snowden's revelation of mass-surveillance programs, and the ever-growing business that online advertising (ergo – user information gathering) is, people have started to pay mind to what they disclose publicly and who has access to their information.

The communications giants have chimed in, offering encryption in their operating systems, in an attempt to put users' minds at ease – both Android 5.0 and iOS 8 promise to encrypt your data and keep it away from prying eyes. And while Lollipop is being adopted a bit too slow, iOS 8.1.1 has already rolled out to plenty of iDevices, and Apple's new security has been irking US authorities to no end.

In a recent report, we've learned that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking to compel Apple to help with a certain criminal case, being investigated in California, by assisting authorities in bypassing an iPhone 5s unit's security. Since such attempts have so far been futile, prosecutors had to come up with a new strategy – this time, they have invoked the All Writs Act. Don't know it? No worries – it's an 18th century federal law that states that courts have the right to issue an order, which requires a person or a company to do a certain act.

The order has been filed and it states that Apple is to assist authorities in bypassing any security, which the phone may have, in order to allow access to any data that is stored on the device. If the data is encrypted in any way, Apple is not required to attempt a decryption. The company is also not obliged to keep any copies of the information, once the act of extracting and handing it over has been complete.

Tim Cook did announce that, post-iOS 8, Apple has absolutely no way to decrypt the data on users' iPhones – it seems that, sooner or later, that statement may be put to the test.

There has been a similar filing in New York, but it apparently involves another company and another brand of smartphone. The case is sealed and it is unknown which ones these are.

source: Ars Technica, Court Documents via iMore

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10 Comments

1. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Translation: US authorities snooping Apple to get passwords to celebrities' iCloud account for 'research purpose'.

2. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Its simple. Do you want security or conveniance and privacy. Apple is protecting its consumers but there should be a back door only available to law enforcement and a valid search warrant. A notification should pop up on the device alerting that a search warrant has been authorized and the rest is history.

4. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Not. Gonna. Happen. Apple lost out big time over backdoors in the China market.

8. mrblah

Posts: 577; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

NO! NO BACKDOORS! Jesus, man. The government has you right where they want you.

3. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Noticed, everytime law enforcement needs help unlocking a device, it's usually an iPhone. Usually, is not to request to unlock an Android device; guess is easy for them to decrypt.

5. DroidMePlease

Posts: 13; Member since: Apr 08, 2011

or that iPhone users commit more crimes ;)

6. engineer-1701d unregistered

i would say apple fans are stupid enough to post pics of them self doing it (the bad thing) and save it, but android all they have to do is put it on the sd card and wipe the phone, junito my friend thats why you have a iphone because you are stupid lol

9. mrblah

Posts: 577; Member since: Jan 22, 2013

So true, in fact Google works directly with the government. Apple is our only hope. Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/assange-rips-google-new-book-article-1.1988857

7. Diablo2424

Posts: 30; Member since: Jun 29, 2011

Apple better not give in to the government BS.

10. wunderkind_67

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Why are the Sheeple (apple fanboys) so worried??? You can not store anything on an iphone anyway. Text messages and calls can be intercepted at the carrier. All your other crap is already on social media or the icloud. You don't hear about Android needing to be unlocked because the SD card can be removed. You can't unlock what is not there.

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