Obama popularises phone fetishizing

Anonymous Coward
in legal on (#173F7)
Obama thinks that having a secure mobile device amounts to having a phone fetish. In another bizare move by the soon-to-be-ex president of the USA, the commandeer in chief has been quoted as being strongly against strongly encrypted mobile devices to the point where full near unbreakable, in the current computing environment, secure devices is basically people just worshipping their phone. How will we catch pedophiles? Why do we allow terrorists to get away with protecting their secrets? The US goverment must be able to access anyone's files (papers in the constitution) at any time and those who stand in the way must be wrong. How dare people walk around with a bank vault for their data that can not be easily copied.

Re: Obama's phone security (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2016-03-19 03:00 (#17K92)

I'd also add that physically entering a residence to look through papers, leaves an obvious trail that is difficult to hide. Electronic devices don't leave obvious traces when someone, like the FBI, has decided to trespass, so it's infinitely easier to secretly surveil someone, possibly without court oversight.

Everyone knows the FBI is lying, bald-faced. They are perfectly capable of breaking into the terrorist's iPhone in question, but instead choose to use this opportunity to gain more legal authority to compel Apple, and other companies, to give them easy access they can use whenever and however they decide to do so. There is no way to prove to a piece of software whether you are authorized by a legitimate warrant, FISC, secret national security letter, etc., or not.

As I recently wrote on the old site:

The US was founded upon fear of an excessively powerful central government, as the British crown was seen massively abusing their power. So strong protections were built-in that weakened law enforcement for the benefit of civil liberties. There have always been other systems of government that are slightly more effective at catching or prosecuting criminals, but Americans knew, for hundreds of years, those trade-offs weren't worth it.

The limiting of government power was so ingrained that the US seems to be the only major nation without a state broadcaster. Outside the US, everybody in the world knows the VOA, but they are NOT allowed to operate inside the US at all. We believed the ability of the current government to directly influence the electorate, was too much power and control to give to our representatives, and settled on allowing only operation on foreign soil, with aggressive protections against even incidental domestic operation.

A warrant, today, gets the FBI exactly the same information it did 50 years ago... They can tap and record all the calls that occur after the warrant is issued, get a log of all previous calls that were made, etc.

Computers have made US law enforcement lazy. They expect they can get a warrant and will automatically be handed an archive with the contents of ALL of your communications for the past several YEARS. The information they got with a warrant decades ago is no longer good enough for them, and they're going to insist on the power they've gotten accustomed to, and refuse to allow privacy to make a comeback.

Remember, it was only a year ago that the entire contents of your phone were siphoned off by the police whenever you were pulled over just for speeding. This was done under the laws that allows them to look for weapons in the vicinity that you might be able to reach for, and which got extended to allow into evidence incriminating documents that just happened to be found in the process of searching for weapons.

And what did the police do with their gigabytes of all your personal information they siphoned off your phone? Maybe look for patterns of terrorism and drug dealing? No. Why they instead thought it would be a good idea to look for any nude photos you might have, and share them with their friends. Hooray for law enforcement keeping us all safe!

The San Bernardino case is pretty damn obviously worthless, too. The FBI has already FAILED to protect the public. The shooters already carried out their attacks, and were shot dead. FBI and Homeland Security failed miserably to identify them as threats, despite there being ample publicly available information to identify them as ISIL sympathizers. It's the same story as the 9/11 attacks all over again. Homeland Security had MORE INFORMATION than they were able to process and deal with, yet they use attacks as a lame excuse to expand their power, their budget, and get access to much more information, which again, they don't have any hope of being able to process in a timely manner.

Homeland Security has become better and better at revealing details after the fact, but is still useless at identifying individuals who pose a threat before they can carry out their plans to murder people. Apple unlocking iPhones for the FBI is more of the same... It won't possibly help identify future threats, it'll just be a little bit more information the FBI can publish about their past.

This was settled back in the early 90s with the PGP case. Code for encryption programs falls under the constitutional protections of freedom of speech. A new federal law or court ruling cannot override constitutional rights. Without the overwhelming support needed to pass a constitutional amendment (which nobody believes the US Fed can possibly hope to manage these days), they can't legally stop the export of software, including encryption, from the US.

This is the trick PGP used many years ago to get around export restrictions, and they were eventually successful in court:
Export Regulations only covers software in electronic form (e.g. on disks, or via the Internet). PGP 5.0i, on the other hand, was compiled from source code that was printed in a book (well, actually 12 books - over 6000 pages!). The books were exported from the USA in accordance with the US Export Regulations, and the pages were then scanned and OCRed to make the source available in electronic form.

This was not an easy task. More than 70 people from all over Europe worked for over 1000 hours to make the PGP 5.0i release possible. But it was worth it. PGP 5.0i was the first PGP version that is 100% legal to use outside the USA, because no source code was exported in electronic form.
First amendment rights favor Apple on the opposite side of this issue, as well. The EFF supports Apple, on the basis that forcing Apple to cryptographically sign software for the FBI under court-order, is tantamount to the government compelling a person to say something, against their will.

It's a shame Homeland Security has gone so far the wrong way. Part of their purview is to help IMPROVE our domestic security against attack and interception by foreign governments. Under a cloud of public suspicion, the NSA improved DES back in the early days of encryption. They added trusted features to Linux and released SELinux to the public. etc. Now they're all about destroying what they used to build, as they have decided their own power to domestically spy is more important than the security of the nation against foreign adversaries. I suppose without a strong and looming existential threat from a nation-state like the USSR, we all too quickly forget our own disturbing history of government abuse, and lose our sense of priorities.

The fact the former CIA and NSA direct Michael Hayden is outspoken in his opposition to the FBI's request, should be a clear indication that the FBI is making our country less safe as they overstep their authority.
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