So, If Someone Could Just Kill A Child And Let The FBI And DOJ Get Their Anti-Phone Encryption Legislation Going, That Would Be Great

from the 'terrorism'-no-longer-'motivational'-enough dept

The discussion over cellphone encryption continues, with much of the "discussion" being FBI director James Comey's insistence that Apple and Google simply can't do the very thing they're doing... and offering zero legal reasons why they can't. There have been a lot of horribles paraded around during the past few weeks, mainly of the terrorist or pedophile variety. None of it has been very persuasive to anyone not wearing a badge. The converts continue to love the preaching while those on the outside look on in bemusement.

It's not just Apple and Google at this point. Whatsapp, the messaging app Facebook recently purchased, will be providing end-to-end encryption. Twitter is fighting National Security Letter gag orders in court.

The Wall Street Journal's recent article provides a closer look at the reactions of the upper echelon of law enforcement (DOJ and FBI) but only finds more of the same.

The No. 2 official at the Justice Department delivered a blunt message last month to Apple Inc. executives: New encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone, according to people who attended the meeting.
"A child would die." That's the argument. That's almost the only argument.
I'd hate to have people look at me and say, 'Well how come you can't save this kid,' 'how come you can't do this thing.'" (Sept. 25)

Smartphone communication is “going to be the preferred method of the pedophile and the criminal.' [Washington DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier] (Sept. 30)

Eric Holder: 'When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child...' (Oct 1st)
As a result, child predators, terrorists, and other criminals could go free, he [James Comey] warned. (Oct. 30)
Unsurprisingly, when the subject was first broached in this fashion, Apple reacted as any company would when faced with the insinuation that its latest feature would kill children.
The meeting last month ended in a standoff. Apple executives thought the dead-child scenario was inflammatory. They told the government officials law enforcement could obtain the same kind of information elsewhere, including from operators of telecommunications networks and from backup computers and other phones, according to the people who attended.
There are other options, but the FBI and DOJ only want the easiest route. To get it, the same argument is presented again and again. The FBI, along with other law enforcement officials, have accused Apple and Google of marketing to criminals. The companies have reasonably responded by presenting the alternatives the FBI and others are willfully ignoring. Files stored on phones are often stored elsewhere. Talk to service providers. Demand the information from the suspects themselves.

James Comey says he wants to have a "discussion," but plugs his ears and shouts about pedophiles and dead children when options other than a law enforcement-only "back door/front door" are brought up. Apple and Google have told the FBI to change the law if it doesn't like the new reality. James Comey and the DOJ's second-in-command, James Cole, know this is the route they have to take if they want to force Apple and Google to drop encryption. They also know the current backlash against government surveillance makes this pursuit anything but a foregone conclusion.

And, so, Comey and Cole exhume the corpses of child victims and give them lead roles in their pathetic, ghoulish puppet show -- something they perform for any halfway-sympathetic audience. Comey and others in law enforcement know what it will take to pass legislation or amendments in their favor.
[Deputy Attorney General James] Cole predicted that [law change] would happen, after the death of a child or similar event.
So, it would appear that both sides of the argument are waiting for a watershed event to prove their respective points. Apple's Tim Cook believes "something major" will happen that will prove to customers that his company's decision to provide encryption by default was the right one. The DOJ and FBI, on the other hand, are apparently waiting for something much more tragic: the severe abuse and/or death of a child at the hand of criminal in possession of an encrypted phone.

One side is waiting for a horrible event their customers are shielded from. The other side is waiting for a horrible event to convert into legislative currency. If the side looking to exploit a tragedy strikes first, the second watershed event -- the one Tim Cook posits -- will have no positive outcome. The FBI isn't just willing to use dead children to achieve its aims. It's also willing to sacrifice the public's privacy and security at the same time.

Filed Under: children, doj, encryption, fbi, fud, james comey, legislation, mobile encryption
Companies: apple, google


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:28am

    Better the child die than to grow up in a world without freedom & privacy

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:35am

    A child will die...

    From the WSJ story:
    Mr. Cole offered the Apple team a gruesome prediction: At some future date, a child will die, and police will say they would have been able to rescue the child, or capture the killer, if only they could have looked inside a certain phone.

    Maybe police will say it, but will it be the truth? Or did Mr Cole just threaten to kill a child and then lie about it to make a political point?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 12:53pm

      Re: A child will die...

      The problem is that a child will die either way.

      They will either die by an "illegal" thug, being tracked and/or raped and/or murdered and/or dumped.
      OR
      They will die by a "legal" thug, being tracked and/or raped and/or murdered and/or dumped.

      The problem is that the person with legal authority to be a thug gets far more protections than a criminal!

      And the biggest problem is that just because they are from the Government that they claim they CAN be trusted any more than a CRIMINAL!

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  • identicon
    Applesauce, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:39am

    Who will benefit

    If a child dies, the FBI & NSA partners benefit. I'm sure the Feds would never let that influence their efforts to save the children tho. They would never slack off their efforts and allow a child to die, just so they could make a point, right?
    They are all honorable men.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:44am

      Re: Who will benefit

      They are all honorable men.

      The Florida State University shooter was a former prosecutor.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:19pm

        Re: Re: Who will benefit

        So what we should really be asking is "Do the FBI & NSA consider prosecutors to be honorable?"

        And the point we should possibly make at this place is that "due to the FBI & NSA's reliance on the dead child argument, any future situation that backs this up should be heavily investigated." Since we know there are alternative means of investigation, encountering a situation where a device is encrypted and they just throw up their hands instead of using alternate avenues just proves the point that they should never be tied to one method of investigation, as that breeds incompetence. And we don't want incompetent federal agents.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:49am

      Re: Who will benefit

      Heh. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:40am

    "And, so, Comey and Cole exhume the corpses of child victims and give them lead roles in their pathetic, ghoulish puppet show -- something they perform for any halfway-sympathetic audience. "

    How do you come up with this stuff?

    You certainly have a way of bringing things into focus Mr. Cushing.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:44am

    "A child would die if they couldn't gain access to a suspect's cellphone because of strong encryption"? My goodness. How ever did we ever survive as a country for almost 200 years without surveillance?

    More doom and gloom and doomsday scenarios coming from a Democratic administration? So, Democrats are practicing the same BS that they accuse Republicans of doing? LOLS

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:45am

    If the feds care so much about dead children...

    ...then why aren't they working on the myriad cases of missing and dead chilren that languish unsolved? There's enough work there to occupy the entire FBI for years. And doing so would not only bring closure to their family and friends but would hopefully bring those responsible to justice.

    But no. Instead the FBI spends its resources spying on OWS, targeting peaceful protestors, painting environmentalists as dangerous radical terrorists ZOMG!

    So please. The feds have plenty of tools at their disposal to work a lot of already-pending cases involving children. They could be doing it right now, legally, above board, using known, tested, Constitutionally-viable legal tools. But they're not. And they won't. Because missing and dead children are not important to them. They're not a priority.

    So who is it, exactly, that's not protecting children?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:06am

      Re: If the feds care so much about dead children...

      "But no. Instead the FBI spends its resources spying on OWS, targeting peaceful protestors, painting environmentalists as dangerous radical terrorists ZOMG!"

      Priorities are priorities. Besides, dead children are useful pawns.

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      • icon
        tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:36pm

        Re: Re: If the feds care so much about dead children...

        Besides, dead children are useful pawns.

        Especially when you'd rather be busting drug dealers and confiscating their assets. Dead children don't have any assets to speak of.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:39pm

      I was wondering the same thing.

      I mean human trafficking is rampant in the US. It just happens to aim at lower class children that no-one cares about, in some cases pimped out by their own parents.

      It's a category of crime that despairs for attention by the FBI, or any agency to give a shit, and (heh, karma) might have actually lent them cases that they solved by tracking a phone.

      The FBI doesn't care about solving crime or saving lives. It cares only about its own perseverance.

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  • identicon
    jackn, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:48am

    Man, its a good thing guns don't kill children. Imagine the uproar if theys suggested controls on guns to save children.

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    • icon
      GMacGuffin (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 12:06pm

      Re:

      If encryption is outlawed, only the outlaws will have encryption.

      Encryption doesn't kill people. People kill people.

      To de-encrypt the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.

      To conquer a nation, first de-encrypt its citizens.

      Encryption in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self defense.

      [...and there's plenty of more by just adding "encryption" to pro-gun slogans.]

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      • identicon
        Incognitus, 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:06pm

        Re: Re:

        "Decrypt" has a better ring to it.

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        • icon
          GMacGuffin (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Haha, indeed. Decrypt is also a real word. I was tracking "disarm" and went too literal. Urgh.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I actually like "de-encrypt" better. "Decrypt" has a specific, functional meaning when I hear it... "De-encrypt" has more of a literary ring when used in the sense of "deny citizens the right to use encryption and the tools that allow it."

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    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 9:35pm

      Re:

      Well, guns don't kill children. It's idiots leaving firearms unsecured and unattended whho kill children, and psychos and mentally ill people holding firearms who kill people including children. Simples!

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      • icon
        tqk (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 4:37pm

        Re: Re:

        It's idiots leaving firearms unsecured and unattended [who] kill children ...

        I agree.
        ... and psychos and mentally ill people holding firearms who kill people including children. Simples!

        Er, what are you saying exactly, please? Psychos and mentally ill people are allowed to own guns in the USA? Since when?!?

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 4:58pm

          Psychos and mentally ill

          Actually psychos and mentally ill people are allowed to own guns and they should be so allowed.

          Very few of us who are diagnosed with a mental illness are dangerous. And of those who can be a danger to themselves or others, many are dangerous because of behaviors that have nothing to do with the gun.

          Yes, I know, in the movies psychopaths are easy to spot and wear hockey masks and frequent wildnerness cabins. Here in the real world, they have rights like everyone else, though.

          Still those places that like extra helpings of gun regulation like to refuse those of us missing a few marbles of our second-amendment rights. A friend of mine here in California was committed once, so she can't be near a firearm because they're afraid she'll go all Addam Lanza and shoot up a school. Or something.

          Serial killers and spree killers are extremely rare. But we freak out over them, when most gun incidents are accidents and suicides, and that's including gang-on-gang homicide.

          There's one exception: we just don't know how many innocent people are murdered every year by law enforcement because they keep those numbers under wraps despite legal mandates to report them. When an officer plugs a kid in the line of duty, it's up to the officer to report the death. And as the Ferguson situation demonstrated, he might not get around to it for a while.

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          • icon
            Sheogorath (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 8:55am

            Re: Psychos and mentally ill

            Actually psychos and mentally ill people are allowed to own guns and they should be so allowed.
            I beg to differ. While I have no issue with the idea of mentally ill people owning firearms (thus getting a pass from me), psychos shouldn't be allowed them because of the high likelihood they'll use them on other people.

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            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 12:12pm

              Okay, please specify.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 12:28pm

                Okay, please specify.

                enter submitted rather than carriage-returning in the body dialog. Sorry.

                So what is your definition of a psycho? I thought a psycho was a somewhat disparaging term for someone who is mentally ill.

                Are you referring to a psychopath? That's a subcategory of someone who's already committed a crime and is invoking an insanity plea. In that case, I agree with you, but given they've already committed a crime so severe that they're invoking an insanity plea, they already don't have access to guns on the account that they're criminal.

                Are you referring to someone with a psychoeffective disorder? Most of these folks by far are harmless and should not have their rights limited due to a diagnosis.

                Are you referring to someone with a psychosis? Most of these folks by far are harmless and should not have their rights limited due to a diagnosis. Granted some may not have a very good grasp of reality, but considering the responses from the public to the Wilson Grand-Jury verdict, this seems to be a very common problem.

                Psychos are not obvious and visible as they are in the movies. They look, act, and should hold the same rights as you or I.

                In fact, by one of the definitions above, I'm a psycho and have the right to bear firearms, but many in my state would rather that wasn't the case. I choose not own a gun because they're expensive and loud and I have adequate alternatives for my circumstances, but should ever have need to pick up a weapon, I'd still want that right to be available.

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                • icon
                  Sheogorath (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 11:55pm

                  Re: Okay, please specify.

                  To me a psycho is someone who has antisocial personality disorder or conduct disorder and hurts other people, whether or not they've been found guilty of any crime.

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                  • icon
                    Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Nov 2014 @ 2:17pm

                    Reality is much more ambiguous.

                    Yeah, you can't just decide that anyone rumored to be bars-in-the-window crazy and potentially dangerous can be arbitrarily denied rights. There has to be some form of due process.

                    Say you were to decide anyone diagnosed by a doctor with APD was to be disarmed: Then doctors would suddenly have that power. People would avoid getting examined for fear of being determined to be a threat. Psychiatrists would then tend to avoid using the APS diagnosis in order to prevent accidentally outing them and causing their rights to be denied. Much like HIV+ diagnoses in the 80s, they'd end up omitted from records or enciphered so as no-one outside the hospital would recognize it.

                    Say you were to decide anyone who was a threat to themselves of others was to be disarmed. Well, that's an awful lot of domestic abusers. Human beings are a pugilistic species, and we're often looking for cause to throw a punch. Many of us cannot control our tempers and look for targets on which to exercise our aggression (Personally, I don't get it at all, and would happily see them all put away, but it's a lot of people. It seems to be a condition that humans cannot control themselves, not just a case of a few ill-behaved exceptions.)

                    Yes, this means that someone does have to commit a crime before we deny them rights, but to do otherwise presents a vector for power abuse. Everyone, no matter how crazy deserves due process. Just as they deserve it no matter how religious, ideological, terror-minded, racist, or degenerate they are, they still deserve due process before their rights are infringed.

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                    • icon
                      Sheogorath (profile), 28 Nov 2014 @ 3:40am

                      Re: Reality is much more ambiguous.

                      But that's the thing, you see; I don't believe someone should be denied Second Amendment rights because of diagnosis alone, but if someone has a diagnosis on the personality disorder spectrum and has hurt others or animals for reasons other than defence of self or others, then there should be some kind of time-limited gun ban in place. Personally, I think I'm being quite reasonable on this given that I'm a survivor of a murder attempt by a psycho, but I also believe that's why I can differentiate between them and others with various types of personality disorders. It's also why I understand the difference between personality disorders and mental disorders such as psycho-affective disorder (to use one of your examples).

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                      • icon
                        Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Nov 2014 @ 12:10pm

                        Re: Re: Reality is much more ambiguous.

                        Due process is the engine by which the state determines whether or not someone has hurt others or abused animals or whatever. Problems come up whenever we are somehow able to bypass that due process, say with the word of a doctor or other administrator.

                        Though to be fair, in today's justice system, due process works very poorly as well, incriminating far more people than are actually guilty of crime or wrongdoing. But to say the system is broken is to say we should fix it. To say we should create other systems is to say we don't have faith in the system we have.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:49am

    Casting

    Anyone have a child they wish to 'volunteer' for the totally made up conspiracy theory the FBI is about to construct, in parallel of course? I understand that those children aged about two, or in their early to mid teens have many likely candidates.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:59am

      Re: Casting

      Come to think of it. Parallel construction is such a mind bending exercise that I wonder if the FBI hired all of Hollywood's most creative writers (which would explain the crap coming out of Hollywood these days), or are their 'creative geniuses' just channeling what they think Hollywood should be writing?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:13am

        Re: Re: Casting

        Actually, there was a story a while back about the government hiring Hollywood writers to come up new scenarios.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Casting

          I remember that story but thought it was the Pentagon that made the solicitation. Though it would not surprise me if other agencies solicited in kind.

          Then again maybe the screenwriters will write intelligent solutions that the government seems to be lacking.

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    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:42pm

      Re: Casting

      Anyone have a child they wish to 'volunteer' for the totally made up conspiracy theory the FBI is about to construct ...

      I'll volunteer James & James. They're acting like children and they don't appear to be doing anything useful at the moment.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:50am

    Do these people own Apple or Google stock by any chance?

    They are implicitly encouraging people to go buy phones by threatening that one day they (the phones) will be banned and that folks should stock up (like people did with firearms when the current President was elected and rumors flew that 'they're going to take maa guns').

    Now why would they want to encourage that? Heads they win (ban is passed, Apple & Google need to invent new models) and tails they win (more sales of phones offering encryption).

    Do these people (using the world losely) have to disclose their investments to the public? Thought not.

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  • icon
    dfed (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:54am

    I am considering a fork of VeraCrypt where the file name is actually .pedo because apparently encryption creates pedo files.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:01am

    To get the phone, they have to get the suspect, in which case they either have the child, or they are too late. Very occasionally the child may have been passed onto someone else, and they can find out who the suspect has rung recently without looking at the phone contents, by asking the phone provider. That is the most useful information, the suspects phone book is available via the phone provider, and will include numbers the person may not have kept on their phone.
    Law enforcement is just getting bitter that their favorite way of going fishing is being removed, or rather requires them to do a little more work.

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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:07am

    There's an incredible sense of stupidity in this article, especially when it's linked to a more recent article.

    Here's how that future will play out.

    "Yes, your honor. We tracked the cellphone of the defendant, which we then accessed via a back door to discover evidence he raped and killed the child."

    "So, how did the law enforcement track the cell phone?"

    "We can't disclose that information, your honor."

    "Why not?"

    "We have an NDA on the methodology with the FBI."

    "What? That's nonsense. May I see this NDA?"

    "No, your honor. There's an NDA on the NDA."

    "Fine. Let's start with that one, and make note I'm getting tired of this game." [gets handed NDA] "There's nothing here but a date. The entire thing has been redacted."

    "Yes, your honor. We're sorry, but that's the law."

    "Good grief. Okay, here's what we're going to do. I want the methodology on my bench by tomorrow. Do you understand this? Tomorrow."

    "Your honor, I've been instructed to remove the prosecution's methodology from the case."

    "You do realize this means the rest of the information is no longer permissible."

    "Yes, your honor."

    "This means there's no case."

    "Yes, your honor."

    "Very well. Young man, you're free to go. Our apologies the court has wasted your time."

    The following day, a small snippet in the local paper details the accidental death of an accused child sex offender who was hit and killed by a Bearcat driven by an intoxicated officer who was sending naked images of those he incarcerated to other members of the police force.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:11am

    Manufacturing the perfect justification

    The government does not shy away from manufacturing crime itself.

    The distinction between the truth, government manufactured truth and a government lie which for purpose of the law can be treated as truth is therefore illusory.

    Suppose that the FBI suspects someone of something serious whether it's tax fraud, child pornography or knowing noncompliance with a regulatory regime which may also be a crime, and wants access to his phone.

    They can't get in but sets him up for perjury.

    First, law enforcement sends him a message with a link to something advertised as CP or it initiates an undercover conversation between the suspect and a government agent.

    It does not have to be anythin
    If he reads the message and opens the link or participates in the conversation, the government can argue that his phone has accessed illegal content,
    and it can now get a warrant to seize the phone as evidence.

    But it gets even better due to the law making it a crime to make false statements to the government.

    If the suspect slips up and talk to law enforcement without a lawyer and attempts to deny a easily disprovable fact he may both be subject to prosecution for knowingly accessing CP and lying to the government.

    In that case, I am sure that the government will argue that even if the 'child' and all other facts are government manufactured, the information is vital to saving a child.

    So the government does not have to kill a real child, it can manufacture any crime by setting up anyone whom it suspects will take the bait.

    Note that the government may lie to you, and legally use a lie as a bait in a sting operation, but you can't lie back even if you suspect everything is bullshit.

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  • identicon
    Irving, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:17am

    Maybe not a child...

    Would it help if someone could just kill FBI and DOJ executives and let the children get on with living freely?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:36am

      Re: Maybe not a child...

      I doubt it. It's just not dramatic enough. If in that example an exec dies someone else replaces them. Maybe someone might even think "Yeah, my boss is dead. I get a promotion!". Doesn't have much of a personal pain factor.
      But if a or your child dies (becaue "a child" could always be "your child") then you don't just go "meh, let's make another one". Using "a child" in the example just adds more personal pain to it so that you might think "that guy is right!".

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  • icon
    Adam (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:19am

    I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:27am

    Hmmm

    Soooo, if a child dies after Apple and Google release the encryption, it is the encryption's fault because otherwise the law enforcement had caught the bad guy.
    But if a child dies now or did die before that then I guess it is the police's fault? Or still Apple and Google for producing smartphones in the first place? Samsung maybe? Nokia?

    I'm confused...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:40am

    The DOJ and FBI, on the other hand, are apparently waiting for something much more tragic: the severe abuse and/or death of a child at the hand of criminal in possession of an encrypted phone.
    And if an event like that isn't forthcoming, they could always simply engineer it themselves. The FBI has quite a bit of experience in that field, as I recall.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:43am

    How to crack a an encrypted Device

    The solution is simple and I believe very cost effective.
    since we already have a torture infrastructure in place, we can simply use that to extract the iphone password from the terrorist and criminals!!(including suspected child killers).
    It's like just one more question!

    Easy Peasy problem solved!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:31pm

      Re: How to crack a an encrypted Device

      It's not torture, it's "enhanced questioning"! (unless it's being done by someone else, then it's torture)

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:51am

    So, it would appear that both sides of the argument are waiting for a watershed event to prove their respective points.


    The FBI is waiting for a case involving a child that required warrantless phone decryption to solve. That hasn't happened yet. Apple doesn't have to wait, because they've already found people hacking phone data and using it to fake evidence in criminal trials. The whole reason Apple's changing its policies to encrypt by default is because it found out how the system was being abused. If the NSA leaks don't count as a watershed event, what would?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:55am

    Re: How to crack a an encrypted Device

    Hope this is not meant seriously.

    Apart from torture being a sure way to have the evidence excluded from the prosecution's case (hint Fifth Amendment) , torture is simply not reliable.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 7:50pm

      Re: Re: How to crack a an encrypted Device

      Sure Torture has limited applications, but torture for a phone password where the answer can be checked quickly and torture re-applied if necessary is more reliable that torture to a terrorist to reveal the next five years of plans and targets.

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

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 3:46pm

        Re: Re: Re: How to crack a an encrypted Device

        ... but torture for a phone password where the answer can be checked quickly and torture re-applied if necessary is more reliable that torture to a terrorist to reveal the next five years of plans ...

        ... and you're an idiot for even trying to believe you're smarter than me. I'll hand over my password in record time. Toot suite! It's the burn/trash/brick the device password, and thanks for allowing me to do that. You lose, sucker!

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

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 4:46pm

          I've been curious how many encryption kits allow for auxillary passwords

          ...whether the bricking password or the false-bottom password (the latter of which is more useful in a court that's willing to jail you for contempt...

          ...whether the bricking password or the false-bottom password (the latter of which is more useful in a court that's willing to jail you for contempt...eternally.

          But I expect that in a torture-for-password brick-the-phone situation, the police would then operate as the classic mobs of old. First going after your loved ones, and then just leaving you in a scalding shower for two hours. Oops. Didn't know the door was locked. They've given the scalding shower treatment for far, far less than a ticking-bomb / dying-child scenario.

          In the case of the very-rare instance of a sexual killer (what we call a serial killer here in the states), neither will do very much to save the kid, but only the FBI is interested in preserving these guys for study. All the other law-enforcement agencies are eager to make sure they die horribly. Too eager, sometimes. And the kid is a casualty, but at least no one else will die.

          As a hobbyist, I've dabbled in reading about the more macabre aspects of the Sicilian Mafia and the Third Reich, and the thing is that today's US law enforcement agencies are adopting very parallel methods of both (specifically the Gestapo and the SS). I figure that we just so very much like to take advantage of having absolute power without personal consequences.

          I think we should have strong encryption. I think bricking and false-bottom auxiliaries should be standard. But I also think that our law enforcement has become so cuddly with the Surveillance state that they're going to get very ugly about this before giving it up and re-learning old-fashioned detective work.

          Now that I think about it, was there ever a time when old-fashioned detective work was standard protocol for real-world law enforcement? Or is that just a thing of Agatha Christie whodunnits and hard-boiled film noir?

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

          • icon
            tqk (profile), 24 Nov 2014 @ 9:18am

            Re: I've been curious how many encryption kits allow for auxillary passwords

            As a hobbyist, I've dabbled in reading about the more macabre aspects of the Sicilian Mafia and the Third Reich ...

            Klaus Barbie had an "interesting" hobby. He'd lead his victim du jour to the top of a set of stairs, then fire a bullet into the back of his head, attempting to make the body collapse and roll all the way down the stairs onto the landing below. He got pretty good at it after a while.
            Now that I think about it, was there ever a time when old-fashioned detective work was standard protocol for real-world law enforcement?

            Yes, post-WWII Israeli Nazi hunting efforts were quite effective and successful. Even the non-government "amateurs" who were in it were pretty good even when backed up with hardly anything in the way of financing.

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

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Nov 2014 @ 12:49pm

              Stair rolls in the SS and Law Enforcement

              Klaus Barbie had an "interesting" hobby. He'd lead his victim du jour to the top of a set of stairs, then fire a bullet into the back of his head, attempting to make the body collapse and roll all the way down the stairs onto the landing below. He got pretty good at it after a while.

              Interestingly that was a Chicago PD favorite since prohibition, where the suspect would trip down the stairs until he got it right... that is, either fess up or break his neck. I expect the length of the stairwell was chosen based on the desired outcome.

              Granted, prohibition was an exciting time for Chicago.

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

              • icon
                tqk (profile), 24 Nov 2014 @ 3:21pm

                Re: Stair rolls in the SS and Law Enforcement

                Interestingly that was a Chicago PD favorite since prohibition, where the suspect would trip down the stairs until he got it right ...

                Hollywood stuntmen have since turned this into a fine art. There is a safe way to do it and not kill yourself/break something/get paid while not laid up in hospital.

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

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Nov 2014 @ 12:59pm

              I really hope I'm just inferring

              was there ever a time when old-fashioned detective work was standard protocol for real-world law enforcement?

              Yes, post-WWII Israeli Nazi hunting efforts were quite effective and successful.

              I truly hope that is not to imply we have to look as far as under-financed Nazi-Hunters before we find an instance of an organization where detective work is a norm.

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

              • icon
                tqk (profile), 24 Nov 2014 @ 3:29pm

                Re: I really hope I'm just inferring

                I truly hope that is not to imply we have to look as far as under-financed Nazi-Hunters before we find an instance of an organization where detective work is a norm.

                Well, Mike Hammer was known to go after bad guys just for having pissed him off! They were lucky he let them die as fast as he did.

                Remember that Schwarzenegger film, "The Commando"? Rae Dawn Chong asks Arnold "What happened to Skully?" "I let him go."

                He was holding Skully by his feet over a bridge. Classy.

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

  • icon
    Dirkmaster (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 12:00pm

    I would love to know

    How many children have been saved by the FBI by looking into a iPhone. I can make a guess at the number, but it would be nice if there was some way to actually know if it was > 0.

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

  • icon
    Nicci Stevens (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 12:29pm

    Correct me if I am wrong but ...

    Didn't the courts rule it does not violate 4th and 5th amendments to require a suspect to decrypt their devices?

    It would seem that there is a lot of pressure that can be mounted that way without violating public privacy on a whole.. Even with a material witness order the person can be compelled to show that information because doing so, in the eyes of the court anyway, is not self incriminating.

    Or have the LEOs just gotten lazy?

    People who use technology to commit crimes will find another way, rather rapidly. Even if the device does not have it by default does not mean it cannot be added through some other app.

    I only know of once case where there was information that LEOs could not get that had to do with a child being killed. That child was already killed an another brutalized. (Joseph E Duncan III). I would love to know if there are actual cases like the ones Comey is using to attempt to force his rules.

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

  • identicon
    Anon, 21 Nov 2014 @ 12:37pm

    Ya know....

    you know the first time some kid dies and the person responsible has an encrypted device whether it was used int he commission of the crime or not, this will be brought up as the reason why they need to get rid of encryption, of course they will hide the fact the device was not used in the commission of the crime and having access to it would have done no good, but thats the american legal and political system now, Fear mongering and mesermization of the population through repeated use of words that carry an emotional tug. Sad State of affairs here in the states where people give up essential liberty for the illusion of security.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 3:11pm

      Re: Ya know....

      Sad State of affairs here in the states where people give up essential liberty for the illusion of security.

      Agreed, except in this case they aren't. Apple (thank you) and Google (and thank you) appear to be just as determined to implement this, and the full court press of LEOs whining Chicken Little stories haven't appeared to produce any pushback from the public on this, nor does Congress appear to be the least bit interested in tweaking any laws in the LEOs favor.

      I guess we have to accept the fact that James Comey sucks as the designated FBI PR flack. Maybe he can get a job with Save The Children, perhaps as a PR spokesman.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 12:43pm

    Main reason they're pushing for unencrypted phones is so law enforcement can get away with serving and protecting the shit out of you:

    http://www.cnet.com/news/police-accused-of-erasing-cell-phone-footage-of-fatal-beating/

    Alas, they'll just end up resorting to either breaking or losing cell phones containing criminal activity of police...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Correct me if I am wrong but ...

    No, the Fifth Amendment issue is complicated.

    But generally you can't be compelled to testify against yourself unless the information is a foregone conclusion.

    You can't be compelled to divulge any incriminating information unless the government either already knows it, or it can authenticate same from an independent source.

    In earlier cases where the government was successfull, the suspect had already disclosed knowledge of the password, and the foregone conclusion was therefore met.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:13pm

    So the DOJ is literally willing to sacrifice a child to get what they want. I suppose that's good to know...

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 3:17pm

      Re:

      So the DOJ is literally willing to sacrifice a child to get what they want.

      No, no, no. You've got it all wrong. They're hoping *someone else* sacrifices a child so they can get what they want.

      Totally different thing. Try to keep up.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:52pm

        Re: Re:

        "Listen, we don't not not want this child to die, but if you're going to do it, it would really help us out. It's fine, we're all on the same team. By the way, this conversation never happened. No, literally! File an FOIA request. We just throw those away! Strange bedfellows, am I right?"

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

  • identicon
    Confused, 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:21pm

    Ummmm... Aren't we missing something...

    In order for having a backdoor to be useful, wouldn't they already need to know who the perpetrator is and have physical access to the phone????

    If you've got the guy in custody... Ask him where the kids is...

    I've testified in a murder case with a child victim. Access to the phone would have done nothing. The tower information that showed where the phone went - provided under warrant - was very useful.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 2:15pm

      Re: Ummmm... Aren't we missing something...

      "In order for having a backdoor to be useful, wouldn't they already need to know who the perpetrator is and have physical access to the phone????"

      They may be imagining a scenario where a suspected kidnapper gets away but leaves his phone behind and so they have the phone but not the suspect. And of course they know that he must have put the entire plot for the crime neatly detailed on his phone. As every kidnapper would, of course, just in case he forgot what he was doing. And since people can be stupid and alleged criminals are no exception to this rule, maybe there is some credence in the idea.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 3:22pm

        Re: Re: Ummmm... Aren't we missing something...

        They may be imagining a scenario where a suspected kidnapper gets away but leaves his phone behind and so they have the phone but not the suspect.

        In which case they get the phone company to identify the account holder, and/or a trace of where it has been in the last several days. Actually a trace of where it has been may be more useful that its contents if it include a deserted build, isolated wood etc.

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

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 3:23pm

        Re: Re: Ummmm... Aren't we missing something...

        They may be imagining a scenario where a suspected kidnapper gets away but leaves his phone behind ...

        Or, that's all just a smokescreen and all he really wants is to find drug dealers and their suitcases full of cash waiting to be confiscated.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Ummmm... Aren't we missing something...


    If you've got the guy in custody... Ask him where the kids is...



    You can only ask, and if he knows his rights he can't be compelled to answer.

    Even if I was innocent I would never answer any question but only lawyer up and plead the Fifth.

    Think of the implications -- if an innocent person answers Yes, the child is there, he incriminates himself, but if he answers I don't know, and the denial can be disproven, he is on the hook for perjury.

    And this is the reason why any law enforcement panic over encryption is actually a stalking horse for permitting coerced confessions and torture.

    Encryption is no different from pleading the Fifth.

    You have a right not to testify against yourself, and strong unbreakable encryption in a criminal case does therefore not bar the government from any information to which it is otherwise entitled.

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

  • identicon
    k-h, 21 Nov 2014 @ 5:38pm

    So how many?

    So how many children are the DoJ prepared to kill to make Apple and Google toe the line?

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 8:38pm

      Re: So how many?

      As many as it takes?

      Should we assume moral behavior on the gov't's part? I've seen no reason to assume so so far. It appears to be little more than ongoing rape of citizens' freedom. Perhaps that word's too flamboyant, or sumfin.

      Perhaps I'm over-thinking it, and we should offer them more latitude; as they herd us into our boxcar on our way to our designated final destination.

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

  • icon
    Dismembered3po (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 6:03pm

    I think I know the real problem.

    You know who else uses crypto to protect their information?

    Voters

    We can't have THOSE CRIMINALS running around.

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

  • identicon
    Bryan, 21 Nov 2014 @ 6:55pm

    Justifications based on 'what ifs'

    So by the same token, the maker of every safe should manufacture a master key or combination for government's use just in case. What if a terrorist hid details of an attack in his safe? What if a kidnapper locked a victim inside? Lives could be lost....unless the government could track down Charlize Theron from the Italian Job.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 9:02pm

      Re: Justifications based on 'what ifs'

      ... unless the government could track down Charlize Theron from the Italian Job.

      I'm warning you, don't even think of !@## (whatever that fits) with Charlize. I'm serious. Don't go there. I will hunt you down and make your children watch you die a horrible death. There are some places civilized people won't go. Damnit. She owned Hancock, ffs!

      I do hope you're seeing the satire in this.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 7:24pm

    It's always about the children, kidnappers, terrorists and drug dealers. It's always about the Four Horsemen of the Encryption Apocalypses.

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

  • identicon
    David, 22 Nov 2014 @ 12:49am

    law enforcement-only "back door/front door"

    There is no such thing as a "law enforcement-only back door/front door". Any law enforcement accessible back/front door is accessible by any other organized crime syndicate. And do you really want your childrens' phones to be accessible by whoever has enough criminal energy to do so and/or buy himself the exploits for it?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2014 @ 1:59am

    Oh, SURE they want to save children...

    ...unless those children are caught up in the human trafficking trade, in which case the FBI is fine with letting them be kidnapped, raped, beaten and killed.

    ...unless those children are brown or black or some other non-white color.

    ...unless those children grown up a bit and decide to oppose the current economic/political/social order. (In that case, the FBI is prepared to frame them.)

    ...unless those children are shot by racist police, in which case the FBI will defend the racist police.

    As always, the cry of "FOR THE CHILDREN!" is a reliable signal that the speaker is a cynical, lying sack of dogshit who is trying to grab power over the bodies of abused, missing and dead children.

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

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 3:18am

    Proof

    Just killing a kid won't do the job. These are the conditions they have to meet for a valid proof:

    Subject has to be known and in hand
    The phone ostensibly to be searched is almost always in the possession of the bad guy (the "subject"). To get the phone, you have to be able to capture, arrest, hold, or even just talk with the subject. If you don't know who the subject is, then the whole line of argument is moot: you can't get the phone from an unknown subject.

    Phone must be in hand
    Not only that, but you have to be able to get the phone from the subject, which needs an excuse, warrant, or force. The problem with this is that the subject may destroy the phone, or may kill the kid immediately on your confiscation of the phone.

    Even assuming best case, taking the phone certainly alerts the subject to the investigation.

    Required proof is on the phone
    You have to be able to get the needed information from the phone. Just because you have the phone doesn't mean it will help you find the kid. Encryption is beside the point; even assuming an unencrypted phone, what if the subject turned the GPS off? Or didn't take a picture of the kid? Or turned the phone off when visiting the kid?

    It is reaching to assume any subject will have incriminating data on the phone.

    No other path to proof
    It's idiotic to assert an attempt to overcome the above difficulties will be made if there is an easier path to the data. Assuming a kid kidnapping, exigent circumstances would apply. If you're looking for back proof, a warrant would apply. Either exigent circumstance or a warrant would get all the cloud data from the phone provider which, it might be pointed out, doesn't require you to have the subject and his phone and evidence on the phone, in hand.

    But who cares?!
    They'll make the argument anyway because, frankly, like a baby throwing a tantrum over lost candy. They can't see data without wanting it. They don't care if it's a phone, personal computer, cloud, private Facebook account, or your scientific calculator: if it holds data they want it! want it! want it! and will throw a tantrum to get it.

    It doesn't have to make sense: so what if your calculator can't contain incriminating evidence? If it contains data, "Want it!!!"

    Because: The world will end if we (royal "we") don't have access.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2014 @ 4:38am

    I'd hate to have people look at me and say, 'Well how come you can't save this kid,' 'how come you can't do this thing.'" (Sept. 25)

    Because your incompetent

     Smartphone communication is “going to be the preferred method of the pedophile and the criminal.' [Washington DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier] (Sept. 30) 

    As well as law abiding citezens

    Eric Holder: 'When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child...' (Oct 1st)

    Legaly entitlement to lawfully violate rights

    As a result, child predators, terrorists, and other criminals could go free, he [James Comey] warned. (Oct. 30)

    Oh okay, so when should i expect a 24/7 copper in my house, a camera on every corner, a mike on every desk, a police escort everywhere i go, taking notes on EVERYTHING i do, just incase........oh, you've incorporated all that into this small device here, and you say it does a much better job at violating my right......oh well then, thats, thats, thats just .....dandy

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2014 @ 4:40am

    The FBI, along with other law enforcement officials, have accused Apple and Google of marketing to criminals.


    You've gotta laugh at criminals calling others criminals

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2014 @ 4:44am

      Re:

      Its like the 4th does not exist with these people, and they've already broken, beyond reason, the fourth, and yet not one person is behind bars...........THATS why you have opposition..........shake the system of these criminals voluntarily, or crumble for all i care

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

  • identicon
    justme, 22 Nov 2014 @ 4:32pm

    This sounds kind of familiar. . .

    We need to use every method possible to extract information from detainee's in order to prevent new terrorist attacks or American's will die.

    Personally i don't think that turned out very well and it doesn't really fit in with my understanding of the principles expressed by our founding fathers.

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

  • icon
    Oliver (profile), 23 Nov 2014 @ 10:39pm

    Cue Helen Lovejoy

    Would somebody please THINK of the children

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2015 @ 1:33pm

    THE F B I accuses apple of selling to criminals?

    Pot calling kettle black there methinks, except the FBI controls most of the drug trade in the US (via confiscation and re-selling)...............

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


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