Irony: FBI Says Apple Letting You Remotely Kill iPhones They've Taken Is 'Big Brother-ish'

from the look-in-the-mirror dept

specialized points us to a report at Wired concerning a released (via the Freedom of Information Act) report from the FBI as it prepares for dealing with smartphones and faster 4G and beyond mobile data networks. Not surprisingly, the FBI is concerned about what this will mean for law enforcement. Not too long ago, we noted that the feds had been sending documents to local police forces, warning them of the ability of iPhone owners to remotely wipe the devices, using a tool designed to deal with thieves. But the FBI instead describes a future possible addition to this -- using voice or facial recognition characteristics to activate this -- as "Big Brotherish" (you can see it on page 79 of the embedded document below):
In a move that seems Big Brother-ish, Apple has a patent in the works that could use voice and facial recognition technology to activate a "kill switch" on its popular iPhone, shutting it down when hackers "jailbreak" or unlock the phone to install unauthorized programs on it, or try to steal information from an unsuspecting iPhone user.
Apparently the FBI doesn't quite recognize that "Big Brother" is the government.

And, speaking of "Big Brotherish," it seems quite concerning that the feds main issue with LTE 4G networks is that since they can send more data through, it means a bigger "firehose" of data to deal with.
One notable impact is that Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) will need to deal with significantly higher data rates than in current wireless network intercepts.
I recognize that they're just describing the problem, but isn't this effectively admitting that they get way too much info. If you're getting a "firehose" of data, you're doing it wrong (and potentially illegally).


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Bas Grasmayer (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 6:33am

    If everybody would kindly email a little less, we can read them all to make sure the terrorists will not win.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    CommonSense (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 6:40am

    Well, in their defense

    "If you're getting a "firehose" of data, you're doing it wrong"

    I'm not sure the feds would know how to do it right with today's technology...for another 10-20 years or so anyway. So naturally, they're doing it wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 6:52am

    Re: Well, in their defense

    Well, if you're getting a firehose of data, the tubes that the water comes down might be a bit shocking, to be fair.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 6:58am

    The Feds can't catch as many criminals because they're sending out more text messages.

    The Feds can't catch as many criminals because they're safe in their house.

    The Feds can't catch as many criminals because sorting through email on a 3rd party server that they barely need a warrant for is rather difficult.

    The Feds can't catch as many criminals because they're all locked up already.

    No matter how you say it, the Feds making excuses just never sounds right...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    specialized (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:09am

    I found it interesting to skim through the PDF by searching for “LAW ENFORCEMENT IMPACT”. You start to get a sense at how the FBI intends to leverage consumer technology to their benefit.

    For example read about how the FBI is salivating over Microsoft Menlo, which is a new mobile device that can track a "target" when GPS signals are not available. (pgs 66-67)

    “this kind of data is terrific for convicting people and terrific at exonerating people. with an activity-based navigation device, Since trail data can be obtained in areas where GPS would not normally be available, the Menlo prototype and the Greenfield app Should these devices become popular and used by targets, they will provide ”

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Howard the Duck, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:10am

    Firehose

    I have a "firehose". But it's biological data, and the only way the Feds can have it is by swallowing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Re:

    The Feds can't catch as many criminals because there are very few criminals left. Lets make some new laws making new criminals.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:38am

    And in other ways, Apple is trying to be "Big Brother" TOO.

    As in Apple trying to control the term "app store". Being Big Brother -- meaning surveil as a means to power -- is a popular pursuit. That's why to not let any any organizations grow. The notion of competition doesn't work in the political realm because all have a common interest in oppressing the people. Increasing the police state works for all who want power; they'll fight later for who gets control of the police state.

    Also, consistency is not a characteristic of gov'ts, so don't expect FBI to be chagrined over their use of the term.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    V, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:48am

    The BEST!

    That's the best news I've heard today!

    Once this technology is hacked and used against iPhone users, they can switch from the dark side of the force (Apple) to the light side (Android)....

    And the world will be right again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:50am

    In a move that seems Big Stupid-ish, the another TLA has admitted they are clueless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:54am

    When it's criminal to stream music, only criminals will be streaming music to their phones.... and the FBI can arrest them all...

    Gotta catch em all....

    Poke-FBI-mon

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re:

    Seriously. Less criminals means less jobs, and that means you hate America.

    You don't hate America.... do you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:09am

    Screw apple and the tyrannical government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:13am

    Keep in mind that these are the same clowns...

    ...who were baffled by a dual-boot laptop (see TechDirt and elsewhere earlier this week).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:18am

    Re: And in other ways, Apple is trying to be "Big Brother" TOO.

    Weren't you arguing in favor of oppressively high tax rates in another article so the the pursuit of MONEY would be curtailed? So you're arguing that government naturally want a police state... and you want them to have more money to do it with? That doesn't make a lot of sense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Hulser (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:27am

    Double irony

    What's even more ironic is that a feature that was meant to thwart theives is instead thwarting the FBI. The next step of course is the FBI demaning a back door to circumvent the kill switch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    mike allen (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Do you really want me to answer that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    mike allen (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:40am

    Re: Double irony

    whats the betting they already asked?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    kleuske (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:42am

    Kaboom!

    Another irony-meter gone. Does anyone know what the prices on ignorantium are these days? I figure i need some to shield myself and my equipment from the sheer mass of irony emitted on the net these days. Does anyone have a clue on whether the new cynicium based irony-dampers actually work?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Jim_G, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:47am

    Apple is "Big Brother-ish?"

    That FBI guy is a double-plus good blackwhite duckspeaker!

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Newspeak_words)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    minijedimaster (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And everyone knows that if you hate America then you hate babies and freedom. Do you hate babies and freedom?!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:51am

    Re:

    The feds are still trying to figure out how to set up a mail server in most states that their departments are in, while most private organizations have figured this out many years ago.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re:

    and I'm not kidding either. If you go to the FBI's website and try to figure out where you can e-mail them or forward an e-mail to them, you must contact the department in your state. Most states either don't have an e-mail address or if you try to e-mail them, it doesn't work.

    http://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field

    Though, browsing through this, it seems like they finally seem to have more e-mail addresses on there now then before, which is a huge improvement. They're finally catching up to ten year old technology.

    and everyone knows government agencies are the last to ever upgrade their systems. The Y2K bug mostly applied to them, because most private corporations already had software with four digit years by then.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re:

    Just what we need, more victimless criminals. They're the easiest to catch I suppose.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    With another ten billion dollars, maybe all of the state departments can have e-mail addresses sometime within the next ten years!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, the Feds are being smart on this one. They know they are slowly losing the war on pot criminalization, so they are trying to replace it with a new business model.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Graham, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:04am

    Too much data

    As someone who does Computer Forensics (not for Law Enforcement or the Government), I can say that noting the increased data is an issue, and not one of "overreaching"

    As hard drive technology gets bigger and bigger, people just leave more and more around and companies don't need to make their applications or data streamlined, they can just throw everything in there and leave it there and forget.

    The same is true for higher bandwidth, if you have a legal wiretap of a suspect in a drug case and you need to monitor their cell phone transmissions to see if they discuss money or meetups. Assume they are going to try and be covert. If your dealing with just a small trickle of voice and web data, you can analyze that data faster and maybe make it to the meet quicker.
    If you have to deal with 3 web sessions, a music stream, IM, and voice.. that's a lot of data and it hard to sift through all of it.

    Imagine if a drug dealer who used to live and work out of a 2 bedroom apartment suddenly has the means to live and work out of an entire hotel. Imagine having to go in and search the entire thing for hidden drugs

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    V, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:31am

    Pot... meet Kettle...

    And seizing someone's laptop at the border for months on end because they're the "friend" of a person the government wants dirt on...

    No... nothing Big Brother-ish there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Fucken FBI = Fat Bellied Ignoramuses !!!
    They are BIG BROTHER the lying bastards.
    They spy on us not us spying on them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: And in other ways, Apple is trying to be "Big Brother" TOO.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Doctor_Dolittle_characters#The_Pushmi-pullyu

    The pushmi-pullyu (pronounced "push-me—pull-you") is a "gazelle-unicorn cross" which has two heads (one of each) at opposite ends of its body. When it tries to move, both heads try to go in opposite directions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    FuzzyDuck, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Double irony

    The only distinction between thieves and the FBI stealing your phone, is that the latter can steal it legally. There's no real difference, you don't have your phone anymore and it was taken from you against your will. No surprise that a technical measure against theft works against both the illegal and legal variant of theft.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Dio Gratia (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:45pm

    They ain't seen nothing yet.

    I woke up this morning thinking about using AirDrop for dead drops as a plot mechanism for an espionage story.

    Let's face it new technology will make a great excuse for FBI guys to hang out around coffee shops.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    chris, Aug 4th, 2011 @ 3:37am

    Re:

    What about the assumptions made that this software will simply work as advertised? If you are being accused by software, you should have a right to "cross-examine" it by reviewing the code. Otherwise, it's like a court automatically assuming everything a witness say is true. I'm afraid the non-technically minded will think there is no way anything could go wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    ohhhhhhhhh, Aug 4th, 2011 @ 5:22am

    lol

    @12...YES
    @21...why can't i just grow me some people fully in a lab take out there brains and make em drones for the tax base....YAAAA thats the future
    @26 oh you mean the 150 year copyright industry that as we see isnt making YOUR debt issues go away cause all the 1% rich peoples hoard there cash and trickle down economics failed utterly due to the actual abuse of the 9/11 situations?
    YUP YOUR right and the key word is TRYING ....its failed already but will out last the pot issues....WHY NOT put the poor in jails and prisons cause they don't contribute to the tax base right?
    @31 and since 2001 wasn't there something like 31000 violations of law the fbi is accused of doing....X-FILES my ass and its one reason i hate seeing shows with cops in them , especially when they are the good guys, which is so far form the truth.
    @32 ask yourself what 200-300 fbi agents are doing in canada when they have NO REAL jurisdiction to arrest or detain anyone.....YOUR PAYING FOR THERE HOLIDAY....

    MY take ...if the fbi don't like it has to be decent app.BUT is it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    wvhillbilly (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

    Just for grins and giggles...

    Expanding the firehose aspect--someone should write a program that would generate a constant high speed firehose stream of total gibberish (like, digitize white noise), send it out and let the government try to decipher it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This