‘Whackadoodles’ offered to help FBI crack iPhone


iPhone 5c by uveX encryption
The FBI has cracked the San Bernardino iPhone, and we're starting to learn how it happened.
Photo: uveX/Pixabay

Details are emerging about how exactly the FBI managed to get into San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s device without the so-called “govtOS” it had been demanding from Apple.

ABC News has spoken to unnamed sources who have outlined the process through which the government finally cracked the stubborn encryption on the iPhone 5c. And while their statements mostly just confirm what we’ve heard before, the story takes some interesting turns.

Check out ABC’s report below.

Can FBI’s method open iPhone? Apple wants to wait and see


Apple iPhone 6s
Apple would like to let a case in Brooklyn cool off for a bit.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The FBI aren’t the only people interested in postponing court proceedings this week — Apple just requested a hold in its ongoing case in Brooklyn over a criminal’s locked phone.

Magistrate Judge James Orenstein has already ruled in Apple’s favor, saying that the government could not compel the company to breach its own software. But the government is appealing that decision, and Apple would like to see if some recent developments in a similar case might render a new decision unnecessary.

DOJ surprises Apple with evidentiary hearing request


Bruce Sewell
The DoJ has thrown another curveball at Apple's lawyers.
Photo: House Judiciary Committee

The Department of Justice has pulled another surprise on Apple this week by making a last minute request to turn the company’s court appearance on March 22nd with the FBI into an evidentiary hearing.

Apple lawyers told reporters this morning that they were caught-off guard by the last minute request which should have been submitted weeks ago.

Apple engineers might quit to avoid making ‘GovtOS’


We doubt we'll see this at any WWDC keynotes. At least, we hope we won't.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Apple’s own engineers may be the company’s last line of defense if it loses its case against the FBI and receives final orders to create “GovtOS,” a less secure version of the iPhone’s mobile operating system.

In fact, some reports say that even if legal proceedings go in the government’s favor, and Apple is compelled to create the software authorities are requesting, certain employees may simply quit to avoid having to make what CEO Tim Cook has called “the software equivalent of cancer.”

Barring unemployment, some encryption engineers may have a variety of other options to stick it to the man.

Apple accuses FBI of using All Writs Act like ‘magic wand’


Bruce Sewell
Apple's legal team has lobbed its latest response at FBI.
Photo: House Committee on the Judiciary Hearings

Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell said the FBI threw “all decorum to the winds” in its latest federal court filing, but in the company’s official response today it has vowed it does not “intend to response in kind.”

The iPhone-maker says in its latest filing that the FBI’s claim that it exhausted all viable investigative alternatives is false because it improperly reset the iCloud password before consulting Apple. The company also admits that it didn’t take a public stance on privacy and encryption until the release of iOS 8.

Ex-NSA lawyer uses tacky metaphor to slam Apple


iPhone rain by Dariusz-Sankowski
Ex-NSA counsel Stewart Baker rained on Apple at SXSW this week.
Photo: Dariusz Sanksowski/Pixabay. Licensed via CC0 1.0.

Commentary on the encryption battle between Apple and the U.S. government might have received its strangest metaphor yet.

Stewart Baker, who used to serve as a counsel for the National Security Agency, appeared on a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin this week. During the discussion, he said that Apple’s current, outspoken position in favor of privacy is a recent development and compared it to the sort of PR-driven whitewashing that Hollywood studios have used to promote actresses as “innocent” and “pure.”

“Who remembers Tim Cook before he was a virgin?” Baker said, paraphrasing composer Oscar Levant’s barb at ’60s everygirl Doris Day.

It got a little less polite from there.

Obama warns against ‘absolutist views’ on encryption


Obama at SXSW
President Obama spoke at SXSW Interactive today.
Photo: WH.gov

President Barack Obama was in Austin, Texas, for the opening day of the South by Southwest Interactive festival, and talk turned inevitably to the current tension between law enforcement and tech companies on subjects like security and citizen privacy.

The president couldn’t comment on the specific case that has Apple and the FBI fighting over whether the government can compel a private company to provide access to a locked device (in this case, an iPhone 5c belonging to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook). But he did provide some insight into the government’s view of the ongoing legal battle.

You can check out the whole conversation in the video below; the session starts about 39 minutes in.

Craig Federighi on why FBI’s backdoor demands are so harmful


Hair Force One wants everyone to become a coder.
Cray-Fed says the FBI wants us to return to a world of iOS 7-level security.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s battle with the FBI, over whether it should create a backdoor to allow for the hacking of iPhones, is one of the biggest stories in tech right now.

Over the weekend, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, took to the pages of the Washington Post for an impassioned op-ed about how hard Apple works to stay ahead of criminals and terrorists who want to infiltrate its systems — and why the FBI and Justice Department’s proposed solution to the problem is so “disappointing.”

FBI will fight for iOS backdoors even if it loses to Apple


iPhone hack
Bruce Schneier thinks the FBI isn't going to stop fighting any time soon.
Photo: Ste Smith

The FBI is unlikely to give up trying to pry its way into iPhones even if it loses the current standoff with Apple over encryption, says security expert Bruce Schneier.

Schneier, who is one of the leading experts on modern cryptography, says it is “clear that the San Bernardino case was preselected as a legal precedent case” by the bureau — despite the fact that FBI Director James Comey has claimed this is not the case (only to later contradict himself.)

Florida congressman floats stupid, anti-Apple bill


United States Capitol by Jens Junge
All the major tech companies are under investigation.
Photo: Jens June/Pixabay

Government officials seem to be in some kind of race to see which of them can be the most indignant and/or outraged at Apple’s refusal to create security-bypassing software for its devices. And we’re pretty sure Rep. David Jolly has just won.

Jolly, who represents Florida’s 13th District, submitted a bill Wednesday that would make it illegal for any federal office to own or lease Apple products until Cupertino gives in to the FBI’s demands. And he did so because state-sponsored blacklisting of organizations that legally disagree with the government is exactly how free countries work.