FBI Insists It's Not Trying To Set A Precedent, But Law Enforcement Is Drooling Over Exactly That Possibility
from the going-to-court-to-force-you-to-hack-your-customers dept
In Jim Comey’s defensive blog post over the weekend, he insisted that the FBI was absolutely not doing this to set a precedent or to do anything other than get into a single phone:
The San Bernardino litigation isn’t about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message….
The particular legal issue is actually quite narrow. The relief we seek is limited and its value increasingly obsolete because the technology continues to evolve. We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly. That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.
Yeah, except that’s clearly bullshit. They absolutely want the precedent, and if the FBI’s PR strategy is to now insist this precedent won’t be useful beyond this case, perhaps it should have coordinated those talking points with others in law enforcement. Because if you talk to them, they’re happy to tell everyone just how badly they want this precedent so they, too, can demand Apple build hacking tools into iPhones. Jenna McLaughlin at The Intercept has put together examples of law enforcement people practically drooling over the possibilities that will be opened up should the FBI win.
In Suffolk County, Massachusetts, district attorney?s office spokesperson Jake Wark said prosecutors ?can?t rule out? bringing their own case of a locked cellphone before a judge, too. ?It may be a question of finding the right case,? he told the Wall Street Journal.
?It?s going to have significant ramifications on us locally,? Matt Rokus, deputy chief of Wisconsin?s Eau Claire Police Department, told the city?s Leader-Telegram newspaper on Monday.
In South Dakota, Minnehaha County State?s Attorney Aaron McGowan told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that ?the court?s ruling could have a significant impact on conducting sensitive criminal investigations.?
And then of course, there’s Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan DA who also has been quite vocal in asking for backdoors into encryption, who has admitted that he basically wants the same power the FBI is now trying to exert. And, meanwhile, Senator Richard Burr used the Apple case as a keying off point to try to push for legislation he’s been working on for a while that would effectively mandate such backdoors.
So it’s fairly difficult to believe the FBI and Director Comey when not only does everyone know he’s lying, but his friends and colleagues in law enforcement can’t even be bothered to play along with the script.
Update: Oh, and even the DOJ is off-script as well. It’s now being reported that the DOJ is currently seeking similar orders on 12 more iPhones. So, yeah, Comey’s flat out lying.