Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
all writs act, code, doj, engineers, ios, privacy, refuse, security

Companies:
apple



Apple Engineers Contemplate Refusing To Write Code Demanded By Justice Department

from the well-this-could-get-interesting dept

In all the discussions about Apple v. the FBI, a few people occasionally ask what would happen if Apple's engineers just refused to write the code demanded (some also ask about writing the code, but purposely messing it up). And now it appears that at least some Apple engineers are thinking about just this scenario. According to the NY Times:
Apple employees are already discussing what they will do if ordered to help law enforcement authorities. Some say they may balk at the work, while others may even quit their high-paying jobs rather than undermine the security of the software they have already created, according to more than a half-dozen current and former Apple employees.
As the NY Times notes, these details certainly add some pretty hefty weight to the First Amendment arguments about "compelled speech" that Apple has made (and that the EFF doubled down on in its amicus brief). As for what then would happen... that's up to the court, but it's likely that the court would find Apple in contempt and/or start fining it. But that still leaves open the question of how does it comply if not a single engineer is willing to help out.

This particular legal dispute gets more interesting day by day...

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 5:15am

    Someone refuses to do the work that you demand of them? Company refuses to and/or cannot follow an order because their workers refuse to comply? Just hit them with fines until they have no other choice.

    Eminent Domain: Now for property and people.

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    • icon
      David (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:15am

      Re:

      Except that Apple in in the right this time.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re:

        Are you sure you replied to the right comment? I'm not seeing what that has to deal with what I wrote. My comment was related to this part...

        As for what then would happen... that's up to the court, but it's likely that the court would find Apple in contempt and/or start fining it. But that still leaves open the question of how does it comply if not a single engineer is willing to help out.

        Where the court/FBI would be in the position of forcing Apple directly, and their workers indirectly, to do work for them under the threat of massive fines for refusing to comply.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:10am

      Re:

      hell, going to be subbed out to india, anyway...

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    • icon
      PRMan (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 1:27pm

      Re:

      If I were an Apple software engineer, I would literally quit the instant the court said that I have to do it.

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    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:26pm

      Re:

      It's not all that well known, but the Constitution only prohibits slavery for non-convicts. Convicts can be enslaved perfectly legally -- it's what a sentence of hard labor is.

      Once those engineers are charged, tried and convicted for criminal contempt of court, they could be compelled to write that code.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 19 Mar 2016 @ 5:58am

        Re: Re:

        They'd have to be defying some sort of court order in order to be so charged, and they wouldn't be. As near as I can tell, the court has not ordered a single engineer to lift a finger.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2016 @ 9:30pm

        Re: Re:

        I think your argument ends up in a big circle. You can't charge the engineers with contempt of court until after they ignore your order compelling them to write the code. But you can't write the order compelling them to write the code until after you convict them of contempt.

        And even if it's not circular, if they simply ignore your sentence of "write this code" that you gave as punishment for their contempt for ignoring your first order, what are you going to do, find them in double contempt?

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  • identicon
    Richard O, 18 Mar 2016 @ 6:37am

    If compelled, Apple will eventually do it with whoever is there. Then they'll apply their standard license terms.

    6. Disclaimer of Warranties.
    YOU EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT USE OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK AND THAT THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO SATISFACTORY QUALITY, PERFORMANCE, ACCURACY AND EFFORT IS WITH YOU. EXCEPT FOR THE LIMITED WARRANTY ON MEDIA SET FORTH ABOVE AND TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, THE APPLE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITH ALL FAULTS AND WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, AND APPLE AND APPLE’S LICENSORS (COLLECTIVELY REFERRED TO AS “APPLE” FOR THE PURPOSES OF SECTIONS 6 AND 7) HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE APPLE SOFTWARE, EITHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND/OR CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY, OF SATISFACTORY QUALITY, OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OF ACCURACY, OF QUIET ENJOYMENT, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT OF THIRD PARTY RIGHTS. APPLE DOES NOT WARRANT AGAINST INTERFERENCE WITH YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE, THAT THE FUNCTIONS CONTAINED IN THE APPLE SOFTWARE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, THAT THE OPERATION OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, OR THAT DEFECTS IN THE APPLE SOFTWARE WILL BE CORRECTED. NO ORAL OR WRITTEN INFORMATION OR ADVICE GIVEN BY APPLE OR AN APPLE AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE SHALL CREATE A WARRANTY. SHOULD THE APPLE SOFTWARE PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE ENTIRE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR LIMITATIONS ON APPLICABLE STATUTORY RIGHTS OF A CONSUMER, SO THE ABOVE EXCLUSION AND LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

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    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:52am

      Re:

      What makes you think Apple would give the government a warranty disclaimer which is that brief and concise?

      When Apple can manage to get an 89 page EULA onto a phone, I think they could do better than that for the government. At least double the number of pages.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2016 @ 4:50am

        Re: Re:

        I think that the warranty should be stated simply:

        NO WARRANTY PERIOD

        And, since the period is spelled out I wouldn't add one as a closing to the sentence.

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  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 6:48am

    Doesn't work out

    The problem for the engineers is that they aren't being compelled to anything - they are getting paid by their employer to do a job.

    You have to think about it clearly: The court has not said "Mr Engineer 27, you must do this", rather it is telling Apple they they as a company must help the government out, and that they will be compensated for it. The employees are getting paid to work by their employer, period. They may not like the particular task, they they are not being compelled by anything other than a paycheck.

    Essentially, if Apple's employees refuse to do the work, Apple would likely have to fire them with cause. End of benefits, end of vested shares, end of it all. It's unlikely that any engineers would take that risk (unless they got very, very bad legal advice).

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 6:57am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      The old following orders reasoning, a favourite excuse of all jackboot wearers everywhere. Just because you always follow orders, does not mean that others do not question them.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 6:59am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      "The problem for the engineers is that they aren't being compelled to anything - they are getting paid by their employer to do a job."

      Which presumably includes ensuring the safety and security of their code and upholding the reputation and value of their employer. All of which are compromised if they are forced to enact these changes.

      "The court has not said "Mr Engineer 27, you must do this", rather it is telling Apple they they as a company must help the government out"

      Yes, and Apple would be required to use their staff to enact the change. If the staff refuse, they may have to find other staff to do this, but initially the impetus would be to compel the existing engineers to make the changes.

      Do you honestly not understand issues that take place at multiple levels?

      "It's unlikely that any engineers would take that risk (unless they got very, very bad legal advice)."

      It figures that making an honest stand on an issue that a person values more highly than money would be a foreign concept to you. Legal advice has nothing to do with it.

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      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        "Yes, and Apple would be required to use their staff to enact the change. If the staff refuse, they may have to find other staff to do this, but initially the impetus would be to compel the existing engineers to make the changes."

        Yes, but the difference is that the courts are not compelling the engineers... Apple is. it would be a stand against their employer, not against the work. Mixed message?

        "It figures that making an honest stand on an issue that a person values more highly than money would be a foreign concept to you."

        It's not a foreign concept at all. It's just the wrong place to make a stand, because the stand isn't against the court or the order, it would be against the company. If nobody at Apple wants to do the work, Apple may have not choice but to start firing people and hiring new ones willing to work. It seems incredibly silly to lose your job, career, and possibly your future because you don't want to disable a 10 counter.

        It's just a bad place to make a stand that will harm the company, and not the FBI or the court that ordered it.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:25am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          "Yes, but the difference is that the courts are not compelling the engineers... Apple is."

          ...because they're being compelled to do so by the courts.

          "It's just the wrong place to make a stand, because the stand isn't against the court or the order, it would be against the company"

          No, it's against the actions that the court are requiring of them. Just because the court orders filtered through Apple management before they made it to the engineers, that doesn't magically mean that the orders did not come from the court.

          This line of argument is pretty weak, even by your standards.

          "it would be a stand against their employer, not against the work"

          How the hell would making a stand against specific work required of them not be a stand against the work? It seems the engineers are pretty happy with their day to day duties, it's just the extra work they'd be protesting against. The work required of them by the court.

          "It seems incredibly silly to lose your job, career, and possibly your future because you don't want to disable a 10 counter."

          So, your understanding of the actual issue is completely incorrect as usual. Perhaps instead of finding pedantic ways to be able to say things contrary to every article, your time may be better spent learning what's actually happening and what's really being said.

          Also, if a skilled Apple engineer quits his job because he chose to make an ethical stand rather than undermine the quality of the company's product, I doubt very much that he'd have problems finding employment elsewhere.

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            icon
            Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

            "
            So, your understanding of the actual issue is completely incorrect as usual. Perhaps instead of finding pedantic ways to be able to say things contrary to every article, your time may be better spent learning what's actually happening and what's really being said."

            So please tell me, without scaremongering and claiming that Apple will have to make everyone's phone insecure (they won't), what the court order says. Last I saw, it said something along the lines of "disable to the 10 counter and any mechanism to slow brute force attempts".

            Now, you can invoke all sorts of "encryption sky is falling" scaremongering if you feel the need to suck Apple's teet, but try to answer the question by quoting the court's order, and not Tim Cook's greatest over reaches.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

              "So please tell me... what the court order says"

              You could Google it yourself or read the post by sigalrm below. Not my fault you can't be bothered to educate yourself on the issue and the reality of what's being requested. it's rather more complicated than changing a variable.

              You can choose to ignore the very real legal and security issues being raised here, but you could at least apply some honesty and facts to your posts (yeah, right...)

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                icon
                Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:07am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                I read his post. He even admits that 2 out of the three points are fairly tame, and the third one would depend on (a) if Apple has the code already written (very possible) and (b) if they have to write for ALL of those protocols or only for any one of them.

                So far, there isn't much there, certainly nothing particularly high end. It would look like stuff Apple probably already has on hand (but doesn't want to admit to), and would require mostly someone to do a specific integration.

                "you could at least apply some honesty and facts to your posts"

                I learn from you. I do it your way. You are my inspiration - even if you are a retired old git :)

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 4:34am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                  "So far, there isn't much there, certainly nothing particularly high end. "

                  I somehow doubt you have the level of knowledge required to make this judgement in any meaningful sense.

                  "even if you are a retired old git :)"

                  I'm retired? News to me. The fact that you can't even get a basic fact correct that's written clearly in my profile is just the latest evidence of your obsessive dishonesty.

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            • icon
              JMT (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 3:41pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

              Again you shown nothing but your hatred for Apple and gross lack of understanding of the larger picture. It's getting hard to tell if you're genuinely this ignorant or just trolling us all for lols (in which case, well done).

              That you think this can all boil down to a simple one-line order is laughable. That you truely think all the "scaremongering" is just coming from Apple, as opposed to a wide range of people, is hard to believe.

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            • icon
              blademan9999 (profile), 20 Mar 2016 @ 8:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

              And what if one of the engineers working on the custom IOS is bribed intimated or blackmailed by a criminal organisation, terrorist group or foreign government into giving them the code. What then?

              Especially as the IOS would have to be tested throughly before being used. And it's NOT just one phone. As the FBI has many other phones they want to unlock and are just using this as a precedent.

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        • icon
          JohnnyRotten (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:13am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          Ladies and gentleman, here is the perfect example of the reasoning that leads to the banality of evil.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:17am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          Tyrannies rely on people like you to get their reasonable laws enforced.

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        • icon
          JMT (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 3:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          "It seems incredibly silly to lose your job, career, and possibly your future because you don't want to disable a 10 counter."

          You blather on about scaremongering and yet you think this is what would happen to a former Apple employee.

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          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

            I don't think you are considering things very well. If Apple is compelled to do the work, their contacted employees either have to do the work or Apple fails to meet the courts order. At that point, the court has a pretty big hammer they can hit Apple with.

            If compelled, it's not at all in Apple's interest not to produce the mods required.

            If the engineers decide to not work, Apple is left in the unhappy position of having to face the wrath of the courts. At some point, they either have to force the engineers to work, or remove them and get ones who will do the job.

            It's not something Apple would want to do, but to comply with the court order, they may have to be dicks with their employees to save their own butts.

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            • icon
              JMT (profile), 19 Mar 2016 @ 2:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

              Actually I was referring to your nonsense claim that these fired Apple employees would lose their careers and futures.

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            • icon
              MrTroy (profile), 20 Mar 2016 @ 8:58pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

              "It's not something Apple would want to do, but to comply with the court order, they may have to be dicks with their employees to save their own butts."

              Isn't that kind of the whole thrust of this article? The government wants to force Apple to write the code the government demands, at any cost? As has been mentioned in other posts, Apple can't just shut down to avoid the court order like Lavabit, giving the government (effective) eminent domain over Apple.

              Consider if Apple was headquartered in Canada - this would be prime grounds for an ISDS dispute as the government directly meddling in the affairs of the company, forcing the company to take steps that will directly and negatively impact the company's revenue. Why is it suddenly ok just because Apple is headquartered in the US?

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              • icon
                MrTroy (profile), 20 Mar 2016 @ 9:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                ... and maybe that's the solution? Apple should start making noises about moving their headquarters to Montreal...

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        • icon
          G Thompson (profile), 19 Mar 2016 @ 12:17am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          >>> Yes, but the difference is that the courts are not compelling the engineers... Apple is. it would be a stand against their employer, not against the work. Mixed message?

          Wrong.. The court would be compelling Apple to MAKE their employees do something that Apple themselves fought tooth and nail NOT to do. Therefore the court is specifically compelling the Engineers who work for Apple to perform an action. To state otherwise is a pure dissonance.

          >>> It's just a bad place to make a stand that will harm the company, and not the FBI or the court that ordered it.

          Again it is like you cannot understand basic ethics. The Engineers are in an ethical quandary of NOT doing something that in their opinion (and a lot of others) would harm society as a whole, or doing something that will ultimately in the long term, no matter what, destroy the company that they work for. This is NOT a hard decision.

          Apple has only a large market share in North America (and maybe japan), whereas everywhere else they are competing very badly with Android devices. If the court either orders Apple to comply with the original order, or the US government invoke the other method to acquire source code it will strike a death blow for Apple in the Mobile market worldwide and even in the USA. It could even destroy Apple's Computer market too (though not as fast).


          On the Engineers side it's all about Ethics, and if they could live with the role they might play in not only maybe destroying the company they love, but also having other people know that they contributed to something that nearly Every One of their peers thinks is abhorrent.

          Me.. I'd quit in a heartbeat and let the court and the media and the DoJ know publicly that that is the specific reason.

          Though if I was a cynical person, I might be worried that the DoJ enact some weird wonderful law from the 17oo's that made me have to do the work anyway on pain of incarceration on charges of treason/sedition or something similar.

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      • icon
        Groaker (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:06am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        They may be compelled by employer/employee contract. Though it is certainly possible that Apple may see fit not to enforce the contract. That leads to an interesting question of whether of not the Government can require Apple to sue for all possible remedies to be had in such contracts

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        • icon
          PRMan (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 1:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          California is an At-Will state. If I were an Apple developer, I wouldn't want to work at Apple anymore. And there are 5000 other companies in the bay area looking to hire 5 developers each, so getting a job will be quick and easy.

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    • identicon
      kallethen, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:01am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      Apple employees are already discussing what they will do if ordered to help law enforcement authorities. Some say they may balk at the work, while others may even quit their high-paying jobs rather than undermine the security of the software they have already created, according to more than a half-dozen current and former Apple employees.

      And what's to be done if the engineers quit rather than code this?

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      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        H1B... it all works out in the end.

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        • identicon
          TripMN, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          So your solution is to import workers that you hope are technically proficient enough to do the project right but morally dubious enough to not have the same qualms as the original engineers?

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        • identicon
          Rich, 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:46am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          HAHAHAHAHAHA!

          I don't mean to insult an entire country (as I've worked with many genius engineers from India), but I've dealt with a lot of H1B hires. They usually come from diploma mills in India, and barely handle the most basic programming tasks. There is no way they can deal with sophisticated security software.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:47am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          Here's the scenario I see:
          Employees in the position to make and approve the source code changes refuse to do so and ask for a different position in the company. Suddenly, Apple has no people available to do the work (or the other code maintenance work). So, it goes to the managers, who then also request a change of position, which is granted.

          At the end of the day, it's Tim Cook and a bunch of Canadian employees who have never touched the code base before who roll out the custom firmware.

          Firmware is installed, bricks device.

          Apple sues DoJ for loss of productivity and essentially preventing its skilled workforce from working on their assigned jobs, causing significant development and maint delays, costing shareholders money. Apple Canada also sues the US through the corporate sovereignty trade clause, as it was Apple Canada employees who were put in this position by the US government.

          No H1Bs needed.

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        • icon
          Eldakka (profile), 20 Mar 2016 @ 5:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          One of the elements to this case by the FBI is that performing this work is not overly burdensome on Apple, because writing code is something apple already does, it has the staff and technical expertise in place to do the compelled work.

          However, if Apple has to hire new employees to do this work, wouldn't that demolish that argument? The mere fact that they would have to hire new staff would counter the "already in place staff and skills" aspect of the argument at the very least.

          And if Apple has to start firing highly-skilled engineers, with decades of experience, or engage in litigation of those same engineers to force them to honour their contracts and do that work, again, burdensome?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:05am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      Why would they have to fire them? Would the FBI warrant also be able to compel Apple to fire uncooperative engineers?

      If anything, I don't see this working out very well for the FBI. Apple already doesn't want to produce the software. And they don't want to lose their employees. "We'd love to comply Mr. FBI, sir, but we told our engineers to write it, but they didn't want to." Any fines to compel them to more extreme measures would have to be pretty hefty to make it worse for their business than losing their engineers or having their products and reputation compromised in this fashion.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:07am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      "You have to think about it clearly: The court has not said "Mr Engineer 27, you must do this", rather it is telling Apple they they as a company must help the government out,"

      But corporations are people my friend ... and we must think about this clearly. They are saying Mr Apple, you must do this.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:07am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      Essentially, if Apple's employees refuse to do the work, Apple would likely have to fire them with cause.

      The government can compel Apple to fire employees now too? Sounds like this whole government-thingy is a bit out of control, don't you think?

      And why isn't the NSA looking at this? Don't we have the finest minds working over there, day and night, to keep us safe from the boogeyman? What are we paying them for? Are they just playing solitaire all day?

      Why do they need Apple?

      Have you asked yourself that question?

      Why does the most powerful government on the planet with nearly unlimited resources, need a company to do anything for them?

      Or, if you're a Trekkie: "Excuse me, but why does god need a starship?"

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        icon
        Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:10am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        "The government can compel Apple to fire employees now too? Sounds like this whole government-thingy is a bit out of control, don't you think?"

        You still aren't a very good troll, are you?

        No, the government can't make Apple fire anyone, but Apple could end up in the odd position of being in contempt of court if nobody is doing the work. At some point, Apple will feel enough pressure that they will have to act, and that could include having to let people go who are blocking the project from completion.

        "Why does the most powerful government on the planet with nearly unlimited resources, need a company to do anything for them? "

        Why do you need someone to help you pee? No matter how powerful your keyboard warrior status, you are still frail in other ways.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:27am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          > No, the government can't make Apple fire anyone, but Apple could end up in the odd position of being in contempt of court if nobody is doing the work.

          I rather think that a mass resignation of the very engineers with the knowledge to make the required change would be a very visible demonstration that the court erred on the "burdensome"-ness of this court order. Apple might technically be in contempt of the order, but would have a very strong argument to overturn said order.

          > You still aren't a very good troll, are you?

          Ah, but look at you! Lots and lots and lots of replies to your comment. You have practice at this!

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          • icon
            SteveMB (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

            The doctrine of force majeure (overwhelming circumstances beyond our control make compliance impossible) is a well-established legal doctrine.
            For example, if the airport is shut down by a blizzard, the airlines can cancel their flights. Under Whatever's understanding (if one may dignify it with that word) of the law, he can demand that they get him to his destination on time like it says on his ticket.

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            • icon
              Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

              You are confusing acts of god with acts of engineers who may feel like gods.

              So sorry, you little poke doesn't work, but you may want to reconsider your understanding of the law.

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              • icon
                Richard (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:42am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                but you may want to reconsider your understanding of the law.
                and you may want to reconsider your understanding of the real world.
                When the law tries do something impossible it loses.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 3:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                Fuck off and find a real job, you're failing at this 'troll techdirt' thing pretty effectively.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:42am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          Why do you need someone to help you pee? No matter how powerful your keyboard warrior status, you are still frail in other ways.

          Wow. Good way to point out that you really haven't thought about that, have you?

          The NSA with all their resources, CAN'T do this?

          And you're saying that I'm trolling?
          Is that your canned response to "look, I really haven't thought about these things, and I can't say otherwise because of the FBI dick in my mouth."

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

            Actually, as covered elsewhere, the NSA has (unofficially) stated that they CAN do this, but haven't been asked by the FBI.

            I know, your question was rhetorical. But I think everyone else is letting the DoJ and FBI get enough rope on this one to hang themselves... the more they let this play out, the bigger the slapdown and potential reforms to the DoJ and FBI when it's time to clean this mess up.

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

        • icon
          Richard (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:05am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          Apple will feel enough pressure that they will have to act, and that could include having to let people go who are blocking the project from completion.


          Letting people go isn't the problem. Finding people who are willing AND able to do the work is the problem.

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

        • icon
          JMT (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 3:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          It's amazing that you can't even comprehend the idea of Apple supporting their employees stance against an order they themselves are fighting.

          Not so surprising is your total dodge of the question. So again, why aren't the NSA doing this? Oh wait, they already told us...

          http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/03/former-cyber-czar-says-nsa-could-crack-the-san-berna dino-shooters-phone/

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    • icon
      David (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:13am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      You can't fire someone that has already quit.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:15am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      By your own logic men should be able to rape hookers as long as they leave a dollar behind.

      After all, they were paid to do their job... not compelled.

      You are a fucking twit, try harder next time you fucking tard!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:21am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      Any engineers who quit or are fired will have little difficulty finding alternative employment, possibly at comparable compensation levels. Apple engineers are highly sought-after. Being fired with cause might trigger minor life disruption, but that's it.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        Yeah, if anything they might be viewed as heroes in Silicon Valley.

        Someone might even want to hire ALL of the engineers that quit just so they can brag for PR and marketing purposes that those highly ethical and skilled engineers are working for them.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:19am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        This. I have quit two excellent jobs in my time because I was not ethically OK with what I was being asked to do. It had little affect on my employability. Most employers simply don't care, and a couple commented that it made me more desirable.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:48am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          Your story reminds me of a news article I read over a decade ago.

          I believe it was a bike manufacturing company the story was about. There was a woman in quality control who's job was to inspect all the bikes to make sure they're safe before they go out of the door.

          A situation arose of not having enough time to check all the bikes out safely if they were to be sent out to clients in time. The bosses told the woman to skip the safety inspections and sign them all off as passing. She refused and was fired.

          When that story got leaked to the press a nearby drug company decided to hire the woman for quality control. Because the drug company understood the huge legal liability they'd be facing if they sent out unsafe products, and wanted employees who would be willing to say "no way" to management who tried to rush stuff out untested.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:22am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      Essentially, if Apple's employees refuse to do the work, Apple would likely have to fire them with cause.

      Well, hopefully that'll work out exactly the way it did for Kim Davis.

      If that twit can't be fired from a government position for refusing to do her job, then I can't see how the government can compel a private company to hold their employees to a higher standard.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:27am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        "If that twit can't be fired from a government position for refusing to do her job"

        IIRC, the reason for that was because it was an elected position and the state's laws meant that she could only be removed via an election, which was not due to take place for another couple of years. Apple's engineers are many things, but they're not elected as public representatives, so different rules will apply.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:39am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          Perhaps the angle could be exploited where the engineers or better yet, the entire company, can claim to worship encryption. :)

          Then it'd become a religious exemption. Just like Hobby Lobby.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 1:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

            I have been under the impression for years that Apple was a cult. Do you mean to tell me that they have not achieved the status of the Scientology Church yet. I would fire my PR people, immediately.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:32am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        Davis was an elected official, that's why she couldn't be fired.

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    • identicon
      AJ, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:33am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      I'm sure that if an Engineer got fired in this situation for refusing to compromise the integrity of their work, the company, and themselves, they would have little to no difficulty at all in finding new employment.

      If I was that Engineer, my new employer would definitely not be in the United States.

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

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:15am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      "Essentially, if Apple's employees refuse to do the work, Apple would likely have to fire them with cause. End of benefits, end of vested shares, end of it all. It's unlikely that any engineers would take that risk (unless they got very, very bad legal advice)."

      Software engineers capable of doing this type of coding at Apple's scale are in high demand. In all likelihood, no engineer who quit Apple over this would be unemployed for longer than they chose to be.

      Similarly: Because of the caliber of software engineer required, it would quite likely be difficult to replace them on short notice.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        Even more fun, if they all end up walking out. "All of our engineers with any actual iOS code writing experience have quit. We're going to need several years to retrain enough engineers to build a new iOS. Yeah, iOS 9 is delayed as well."

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

      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        "Software engineers capable of doing this type of coding at Apple's scale are in high demand. In all likelihood, no engineer who quit Apple over this would be unemployed for longer than they chose to be."

        I am not sure how many people would be lining up to hire people who may hold Apple essentially for ransom.

        As for the caliber of engineer required, considering this isn't "write an OS" but rather "remove or disable a 10 counter" it's likely that the work could be done by a junior - or someone out of the country for that matter. It's not the highest of high end jobs.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          "I am not sure how many people would be lining up to hire people who may hold Apple essentially for ransom."

          The court staff will be looking for employment?

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:30am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          "considering this isn't "write an OS" but rather "remove or disable a 10 counter" it's likely that the work could be done by a junior"

          Maybe. But it's also true that there is literally no way we can reasonably speculate on the odds that this is true. Ask literally any software engineer how often it happens that a seemingly trivial change to a piece of software actually requires a substantial amount of engineering effort.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:43am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

            Plus, add the fact that he's wrong about this being the only thing they're asking for and you have the usual amount of inanity.

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

          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

            If it was a huge change, yes. From what I can see, most of it seems pretty much in the "disable feature" category, which shouldn't be a big deal - and potentially the options already exist in the OS as part of a debug process or may have been created along the way as part of the OS development in that area.

            Trivial changes can be problems, that is true. However, I have faith that Apple's high quality programming and high end engineers wouldn't have coded spaghetti, and that individual modules could stand up to modifications without harming the whole package. If that isn't the case, the Apple has even bigger issues.

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

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

              Trivial changes can be very problematic even for extremely well-designed code. My point is that there is no way to know if this is the case or not from the outside.

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

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:08am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                Ack, I forgot quote marks around "trivial". I'm talking about changes that look trivial from the outside. What they look like does not always correlate with what they are.

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

              • icon
                Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:13am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                I agree fully. However, if that was the case, it would one of Apple's points of contention, that the job wouldn't be easy. They have carefully avoided that, from all I have read.

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

                • icon
                  SteveMB (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:42am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                  Well, then, you need to start reading stuff that would educate you about the case. Apple has repeatedly pointed out that several highly trained engineers would have to put in a few weeks of work:

                  According to the declaration of Apple manager of user privacy Erik Neuenschwander, it could take six to ten engineers anywhere from two to four weeks to design, create and deploy the requested software.

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

                  • icon
                    Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:50am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                    I don't see "highly trained" anywhere in that quote.

                    I also see that 4 weeks is pretty much nothing, "deploy" being the key as they would like have to do testing. It's probably why the engineer count is high, because they do different jobs as part of the process.

                    So 6 to 10 engineers, 4 weeks... at 200k a year each, it's maybe $100,000 or so of work. For a company that literally sells billions a year, it would seem to be a trivial job.

                    Thanks for helping me confirm that concept.

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

                    • icon
                      SteveMB (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:54am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                      Wrong again. Tying up the staff that is capable of writing a new OS would obviously have yuuuge (to quote your intellectual peer among the current crop of candidates) implications (e.g. delaying the next iteration of the legitimate iOS because of the diversion of skilled expertise to FBiOS).

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                      • icon
                        Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:15am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                        Apple has waited longer than 4 weeks to release things because Steve Jobs didn't like the texture of a button or knob in a final design item. Thinking that 10 engineers for a few weeks in a company the size of Apple is meaningful is, umm, amusing.

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

                    • identicon
                      kog999, 18 Mar 2016 @ 1:01pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

                      so as long as its just a little bit of slavery its ok.

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

          • icon
            Richard (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:10am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

            considering this isn't "write an OS" but rather "remove or disable a 10 counter

            That may be so - BUT ITS STILL DOESN'T MAKE THE JOB "DOABLE BY A JUNIOR".

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

        • icon
          sigalrm (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          As for the caliber of engineer required, considering this isn't "write an OS" but rather "remove or disable a 10 counter" it's likely that the work could be done by a junior - or someone out of the country for that matter. It's not the highest of high end jobs."

          Urm, no.

          From the order:
          (1) it will bypass or disable the auto-erase function whether or not it has been enabled; (2) it will enable the FBI to submit passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE for testing electronically via the physical device port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other protocol available on the SUBJECT DEVICE and (3) it will ensure that when the FBI submits passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE, software running on the device will not purposefully introduce any additional delay between passcode attempts beyond what is incurred by Apple hardware.

          Arguably, (1) and (3) might be fairly simple, although given that I haven't seen the IOS source code, I can't say for certain.

          (2) on the other hand, seems fairly unlikely to be currently implemented - although it may be implemented in debug code that can be turned enabled elsewhere in the code.

          All of the above - regardless of how the requirements are implemented - would need to be validated and survive regression testing and quality control before the code could be loaded onto the phone.

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

        • icon
          SteveMB (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          I am not sure how many people would be lining up to hire people who may hold Apple essentially for ransom.

          Now, now, I'm sure the FBI guys will be able to find positions as mall security or something.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 1:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

            Yeah, but when they go to that temp agency, what skills could they list?

            Typing: WPM 10
            Excel: Yes I do
            Copier Operations: Only Money
            Filing: Oh yes, we filed fallacies all the time.
            Phone Skills: Trap and Trace, what do you mean answer?
            Mail Merge: Is that when the post office copies mail covers for us?

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

        • icon
          JMT (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 4:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          "...considering this isn't "write an OS" but rather "remove or disable a 10 counter" it's likely that the work could be done by a junior..."

          Every time I think you've demonstrated the true scale of your ignorance, you prove me wrong and outdo yourself.

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

        • icon
          MrTroy (profile), 20 Mar 2016 @ 9:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: Doesn't work out

          "As for the caliber of engineer required, considering this isn't "write an OS" but rather "remove or disable a 10 counter" it's likely that the work could be done by a junior - or someone out of the country for that matter. It's not the highest of high end jobs."

          Security - you're doing it wrong.

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

    • icon
      SteveMB (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:28am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      Nope. Given the mood in Silicon Valley, the more likely scenario is "I quit." followed by a tough decision between a half-dozen different employment offers each sending the message "I like the cut of your jib".

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

      • identicon
        Chris, 19 Mar 2016 @ 4:44am

        Re: Re: Doesn't work out

        Guys just treat it as any other government software project, overload it with project managers, scope creep means it will never be finished, the code will be so bloated that it will not run on an iPhone and it will never contain any of the original functionality.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:34am

      Re: Doesn't work out

      If they are forced to fire their entire workforce, then surely that means the original order has caused undue burden on the firm and therefore should be invalidated?

      If requiring the company to do something its employees would refuse to do, requiring their dismissal, that sounds like an undue burden to me.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2016 @ 7:49pm

      Re: Doesn't work out

      That would be so toxic to morale. If people really don't want to make something they shouldn't be forced to whether it's hacking tools or gay wedding cakes let people decide on their own.

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

  • icon
    Geno0wl (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 6:50am

    Supreme Court

    This is going to go to the Supreme Court one way or the other. No matter who loses it will be appealed.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:03am

      Re: Supreme Court

      Dont think FBI wants the supreme court to weigh in on this. They are on very rocky legal ground. It is why they waited for an emotional case, hoping for public opinion to sway Congress. If they had actual legal authority, they could have used any number of pending cases that had actual living perpetrators.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:08am

        Re: Re: Supreme Court

        I imagine they don't want the SC to weigh in on the issue(unless they're confident that the ruling will go in their favor), but it will either reach that point, or they'll fold and go back to waiting for a 'better' case to try to set the precedent they want.

        No matter which side wins it will be appealed, unless the FBI decides to cut their losses for the reason I noted above, and after enough of that it will reach the point where the SC is the only court left.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 6:57am

    Playing the odds

    If the employees refuse to do the work that gives Apple more time.. the FBI brings them back before the judge, Apple explains that the Order is "In the Pipeline" and that a dedicated team is being formed.. depending on time for appeals to play out they can drag that game out until they get a better judgement. Fines will not discourage Apple if they want to make a stand. What would pressure Apple would be an order to turn over source code and signing keys to the FBI so they can "do it themselves"

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:48am

      Re: Playing the odds

      " What would pressure Apple would be an order to turn over source code and signing keys to the FBI so they can "do it themselves" "

      Being forced to hand over the keys so FBI-OS can sign it's code with them is equivalent to being forced to endorse FBI-OS. That would be compelled speech; speech that Apple has shown that it finds offensive.

      It may be time for the courts to recognize that your personal signing keys are not just keys to a lock; they are also keys that let you say "I endorse this", which is a form of speech, and thus protectable as a First Amendment right.

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

      • identicon
        Dingleberry, 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:39am

        Re: Re: Playing the odds

        Isn't it likely that Apple would be required to hand the source code anyway to any defence team in a trial involving this or similar software. Otherwise, should anything incriminating we "found" on the device it could be claimed that the rebuilt OS could have placed it there. And that defence team would need a lot of developers who could understand the code.

        Again, undue burden.

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

      • icon
        beltorak (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re: Playing the odds

        > Being forced to hand over the keys so FBI-OS can sign it's code with them is equivalent to being forced to endorse FBI-OS. That would be compelled speech....

        That's arguable. It remains to be seen if a court would see it that way. Remember Ladar Levison. The fact that HTTPS connections are designed to guarantee authenticity and require digital signatures to attest to the fact might be enough to equate a digital signature with consent or endorsement. If the court buys that equivalency, and accepts the precedent as valid, then compelled speech is a done deal.

        If we transfer from cyberspace to meatspace, the government can compel you to sign a false confession. Hell they may as well be allowed to compel you to endorse or vote for someone of their choosing. Truly terrifying.

        On the other hand, if the courts block this type of compelled speech, I can see the FBI demanding that all future systems that accept software updates must not refuse an unsigned software update, or that they accept one signed by a different key. Imagine all future TPM chips must have a government key baked in.

        Backdoors indeed.

        On a third hand, the court may not make that leap to equivalency. In which case we (the People) could lose this battle. To combat that legal attack in the future, the tech community could add a cert flag that makes the endorsement explicit. Kinda like how the linux kernel code authors signal their intent as to which license a symbol is usable under (SYMBOL_EXPORT vs SYMBOL_EXPORT_GPL or something like that). These methods have not been tested in court however, and they may be shot down.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 6:59am

    Would be interesting as the order generally would be for the company to do "X" not an individual person. As such, the employees don't face any issue with contempt charges. Punishment for failing to comply could only be handed out against the company as a whole.

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

  • icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:19am

    Thanks for posting this, Mike. When I came across it last night, and submitted it this morning, I thought it was an interesting twist. The FBI never once stopped to realize how they would compel Apple's software engineers to write the code and what they would do if the engineers refused, which is exactly what looks like will happen.

    If the Supreme Court rules against Apple, the FBI wins. BUT, it could prove a hollow victory if Apple's own software engineers revolt and decide to quit Apple and refuse to write the code.

    The original New York Times article is a very fascinating read. Try as hard as they like, the FBI is fighting one company but it looks like Apple's own staff are going to quit rather than make the software more insecure.

    That's what I call real world ethics.

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

    • icon
      Ryunosuke (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:31am

      Re:

      which would lead to whats the word

      economic uncertainty?

      because engineers quit > less engineers to do security stuff in general, more holes in apple products > no one trusts apple stops buying them > apple closses

      note this is possibly worst case scenario, but still a valid one i think.

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

    • icon
      Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:13am

      Re:

      "The FBI never once stopped to realize how they would compel Apple's software engineers to write the code and what they would do if the engineers refused, which is exactly what looks like will happen."

      Since they are compelling Apple and not the engineers, the court would likely add more pressure on Apple (say contempt of court charges, daily fines, perhaps securing Mr Cook for a few days) in order to break the logjam. If Apple is unable to deliver, the potential is honestly unlimited.

      Absolute extreme: The court could appoint a trustee. That would be insane, but there is that potential at the very, very extreme end of the rainbow.

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

      • identicon
        Quiet Lurcker, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:46am

        Re: Re:

        >>Absolute extreme: The court could appoint a trustee. That would be insane, but there is that potential at the very, very extreme end of the rainbow.

        Highly unlikely. I suspect someone, somewhere is going to grow a working brain cell and force the feds give the case the live grenade treatment: throw it as far and hard as humanly possible.

        Either that, or someone in the white house or at (in)justice will order the matter dropped.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          There is an "undue burden" concept at play here. As soon as the request for Apple to do something becomes an undue burden, it should be invalidated. If additional input is required, such as a trustee being appointed by the court in order to force workers (not the company) to do something, at what point is it now an obvious undue burden?

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

      • icon
        JohnnyRotten (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:24am

        Re: Re:

        This is as likely as Apple simply closing up shop and shutting down the company, thus leaving no legal entity to obey the order.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:20am

    Put them on paid leave

    Just put those employees who don't want to work on GovtOS on paid leave until the matter is resolved. Assuming, of course, that the FBI wins. That's not a foregone conclusion, though.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:21am

    Burr-Frightstein bill

    Senators Burr and Frightstein should have their proposed legislation out soon. Won't that be a fun bill to read.

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

  • identicon
    Irving, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:34am

    Price as discouragement

    Government departments often (or is it always now?) use exorbitant pricing to discourage Freedom of Information requests.

    How about Apple trying a bit of that? A piece of custom software from a major firm like that should be priced in the billions.

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

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:04am

      Re: Price as discouragement

      Probaly better to agree to do it on a cost plus basis - then let it drag on and on and never get anywhere - after all most government IT projects end up like that - so why not this one?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:49am

    Oh I imagine that the fbi/govt has the means to make the lives of any engineer who does quit a living hell. No fly lists, sex offender database, audits for life, "stolen" ID....etc.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 2:42pm

      Re: means

      Any recalcitrant engineer will find their home doors being kicked in at 5 AM by men with guns drawn, pointed at their loved ones. Everyone will be arrested, even the children, and FBI will dig through the computers and devices looking for the slightest thing they can file trumped up charges on.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 7:49am

    I say Apple should just turn over the IOS code to the FBI.

    (Printed, 8pt helvetica, double sided, with random redactions.)

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

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:07am

      Re:

      No they should set aside a room with the code accessible via a terminal.

      Then the FBI should be allowed to go in and view it - but not be allowed to take in any recording devices and should not be allowed to take in any notes. The room should be open for just 2hrs per day.

      In addition they should allow in only senior FBI managers who have no coding experience.

      After all that was deemed enough for cetain trade agreements!

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:26am

        Re: Re:

        They probably can. I don't know about Apple's policies, but with most security software companies who sell to large corporations and governments, they do exactly this. The entities send engineers to the company's premises and spend a few days looking at the source code. The only data that leaves the premises is what stays in the engineer's heads.

        It's pretty much a dog-and-pony show, though, because with complex software, if there were some sort of issue then there is almost zero chance that the issue will be spotted by someone spending a few days reading source code. Companies only do it because it makes their customers feel better.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:03am

    They would probably be charged with aiding and abetting terrorism to make an example of them. Why have heavy handed laws designed to be abused if you do not abuse them.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:05am

    Interesting scenario

    The court orders Apple to comply. The engineers quit. Court threatens fines. Apple says..."We would love to comply but no software engineers will work for us now."

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:08am

    Apple has nothing to lose

    If the FBI wins this, then Apple is dead. Plain and simple.

    They stand to loose their reputation and customers, IP (source code), engineers, cash reserves (fines) and possibly a combination of all of these.

    So, Apple has no other option that to fight. Tooth and nail. Desperately.

    And win or loose, I'm sure that this entire charade is already making a lot of other companies think about staying in the US.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      icon
      Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:26am

      Re: Apple has nothing to lose

      You are correct, but not for the reasons you think.

      I think Apple is dead because their big encryption / security / we value your privacy claims will fall apart as people come to realize how weak their security actually is, and how little stood between their supposedly well protected data and exposure.

      "So, Apple has no other option that to fight. Tooth and nail. Desperately."

      More, they have to try to fight it in areas not related to the actual case at hand, and to use the biggest scaremongering tactics possible. They literally need to distract people away from how simple and basic the court's order is, and how little it really will take to accomplish it. So instead they have to scare people about turnng on everyone's camera and microphone for recording 24 hours per day and for all sorts of wild claims about hackers doing in their phones.

      Apple's desperation here is almost entirely economic, and not anywhere near as much about your privacy - that's just something they are selling you for a big profit.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:33am

        Re: Re: Apple has nothing to lose

        Yeah, their security is so weak that the FBI "cannot" break it without begging Apple to do their work for them.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re: Apple has nothing to lose

        You know that Apple's newer versions of the iPhone already have more secure designs that the phone in question, and if the FBI had come to them about one of these newer ones that Apple would have told the court, "We'd love to help, but there's absolutely nothing we can do.", right?

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

        • icon
          Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:45am

          Re: Re: Re: Apple has nothing to lose

          ""We'd love to help, but there's absolutely nothing we can do.", right?"

          Actually, yes. If you rewind back to the start of this whole discussion, back on Mike's first post about it, I said pretty clearly that one of the big problems for Apple is that they have a security weakness so obvious, that even the FBI can see it.

          If Apple had mitigated that issue with a more secure design (generally requiring a longer pincode would do it) there there would likely be no discussion. That their supposedly "secure" one way chip can be modified live to remove it's main security protection (attempts per second) is a pretty big deal. That pincodes are short and they require to have a simplistic 10 counter to lock people out is another.

          Apple would certain be in the position to say no if it was not feasible. Their problem entirely rests on the idea that what is asked for is VERY feasible, just perhaps not desirable.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Apple has nothing to lose

            I said pretty clearly that one of the big problems for Apple is that they have a security weakness so obvious, that even the FBI can see it.

            And yet despite the obvious nature, they can't get around it. There's nothing for Apple to mitigate - if the FBI isn't lying that it can't get past the controls, then it would appear that this obvious weakness is working pretty well, no?

            It has nothing to do with feasibility. It has everything to do with the FBI fucking up at the very beginning by changing the cloud account password, and wanting Apple to fix their fuck up.

            Perhaps we should see those agents who ordered the first fuck up get fired before anything else. Because if you want to argue this as a national security issue, then I'd challenge you to point to a bigger risk than incompetent agents.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 3:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Apple has nothing to lose

            I said pretty clearly that one of the big problems for Apple is that they have a security weakness so obvious, that even the FBI can see it.

            Apple are well aware that when people have to type a pin or pass phrase, they will use a short one. They then added further security features to make the use of short pins pretty secure, limit their input to the interactive input device, and limit the number of tries before invalidating their use.
            You keep ignoring that security always relies on a layered approach, and this combination seems to have stymied the FBI. The only possible mistake that Apple have made is allowing updates without the user authorising them. but then their target audience does not like little inconveniences like that. Further the code signing requirement seems to be working as the defence against unauthorised updates.

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          • icon
            Ninja (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 6:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Apple has nothing to lose

            Actually, yes. If you rewind back to the start of this whole discussion, back on Mike's first post about it, I said pretty clearly

            You said nothing of value. You've been consistently spewing the same bullshit through the asshole you actually call mouth (or fingers since it's text messages. And you can't stop the constant stream. It's kind of shocking.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 5:44pm

        Re: Re: Apple has nothing to lose

        You don't even know that you don't know what you don't know.

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

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:34am

    The world doesn't care

    Look in the grand scheme of things the world doesn't care. Look at the revelation after Snowden. Big up cry, but after a couple months more people were concerned about Kim Kardashian than the NSA looking at all our entire life. I wish the world cared. I hope those in power were smart enough to care. Unfortunately, in today's world. Things are just Fucked up.

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  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:40am

    Looks like Apple has bigger fish to fry.. perhaps they should be more concerned about their user's security!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3496831/New-kind-malware-Apple-devices-disco vered-breaks-computer-installs-malicious-apps.html

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    • identicon
      kallethen, 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:15am

      Re:

      Apple's not perfect!? *insert flailing here* /s

      If anything, this is an example of why Apple needs to keep it's engineers on the task of improving their softwares' security, not creating more holes in it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:21am

      Re:

      Oh so now you're concerned about user security?

      What if they close this hole, and the FBI demands that they reopen it?

      How do you know the FBI didn't develop this malware?

      Are you trying to fuck up national security by complaining about Apple not taking user security more seriously?

      Fucktard.

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 6:43am

      Re:

      Oh look, I'm full of bs so pay attention to this non-issue here! - dumb whatever mctroll

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

  • icon
    DB (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:41am

    Apple is unlikely to summarily fire an employee for refusing to do this specific work. They might be placed on leave. Perhaps even unpaid leave. Some employees might volunteer to be terminated (e.g. with lucrative stock options immediately vesting, simply retiring early).

    The FBI might have misjudged public sentiment earlier. But they certainly can see the PR disaster of Apple suspending and firing employees for refusing an immoral order. Apple has a lot of employee with cushy-retirement-magnitude stock options. At a dozen people a day, they might have an continuous supply.

    What if the FBI just skips that embarrassment and asks for the source code, the signing key and the process to produce a valid signed update? First, that's a huge ask to the court That's the core of Apple's business. Can the government force the turn-over of the most critical trade secrets of a company that wasn't remotely involved in the crime?

    And even if they get it, could they build a software update? It would be like asking a football to operate an aircraft carrier. They might be able to start it moving after a decade or two of study. But to use it as intended would be beyond them in this lifetime.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:10am

    whatever, your day job is calling.

    oh, this is your day job?

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

    • icon
      Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:24am

      Re:

      "oh, this is your day job?"

      How shockingly unoriginal of you.

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

      • identicon
        Harry Scrotus, 18 Mar 2016 @ 2:25pm

        Re: Day job?

        Your omnipresence here makes it a reasonable question. If asked (and NOBODY ever asks me) I would have to guess from the amount of time you have to devote to "our gang" that you are being compensated for your hideous time here and that your attitude arises from your pique being forced to be one of us. Your actions strongly resemble those a petulant child, whining to be let in to where the cool kids hang out, and yet you're here, among the cool kids yet you revel in most trivial opportunity to tell us how uncool and wrong we are. If my friends acted as you do, I wouldn't let them into the clubhouse. We've got serious activities here, but you seem to thing that all we're here for is to soak up your impotent tantrums. Well, I for one sick of you, you're like an itch in my...
        and I don't see why everyone else puts up with you, you're like a blanket with permasoak, dripping on our fun, derailing our attempts to have a productive conversation. I'm sure we could dig Nixon up and have a lot more fun, and then there'd be a place for you. And you could commute to your day job.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:10am

    This is a side issue...

    Whether the code gets written or not because the engineers refuse is besides the point. It's not about breaking into this phone. It's about the precedent in the law that allows the courts in the future to compel companies to require their employees to do this sort of thing or not. If the courts side with the FBI (and it doesn't get overturned on appeal) the precedent will be there whether the engineers refuse to do it or not.

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    • icon
      Richard (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:33am

      Re: This is a side issue...

      the precedent will be there whether the engineers refuse to do it or not.

      But the engineers' refusal to do the work - and whatever happens next - is also - de facto - part of the precedent. In the end the courts can huff and puff all they like but they cannot compel an uninvolved 3rd party to do something against their will.

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  • icon
    Richard (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:28am

    Seems to me

    It seems to me that there are but a few patterns of Government or large corporate "fail".

    There is "Emperor's new Clothes"
    There is "Mandy Rice-Davies" (Google it if you don't know).

    There is also "King Cnut".

    THis case seems to fall into the latter category.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:57am

    shockingly unoriginal

    oh, i'm sure my impression was far from unique. but if someone had given expression to it, i was unaware and thought it worth saying.

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

  • identicon
    Jamesk, 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:07am

    Or......

    Apple could pull out of the US for a week and watch the public outcry.

    Just sayin.....

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

  • icon
    DB (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:49am

    I agree that the issue isn't at all a technical one.

    But I think most people here are under-estimating the expertise, time and effort it takes to push out even a zero-change key-signed update.

    It takes the company I work for almost a year to go from fully-written code for a new feature to deploying that feature onto the machines of customers. There are rooms full of machines that build and test each night. Then unseen legions of internal testers, using a signing key that works only internally. Then a special room and designated priests that consecrate the release with the beta-test external signing key, usable only by 'early availability' external testers. Finally the people in the special room with air-gapped machines sign the validated binary with the final release key.

    And still bugs show up immediate in the new release.

    At best there are only a handful of people that have the broad knowledge to make a modification, rebuild the system, do all of the signing to make the result valid, and push the result onto a device. Perhaps there is no single person, and it would still take a small team. The people on such a team have all been around long enough to both deeply care about the system, and have enough stock+options to retire in luxury.

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    • icon
      Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      I think that if this patch (all it really is) was going to be a applied to millions of iphones around the world and used daily, it might be something of more concern. This is a way more gonzo bit of work, deleting or disabling a limited number of things and activating some code they likely already have to activate faster communications to brute force the device.

      Technically, I don't think it's really a big deal. Timewise, Apple seems not to think so either. So it comes down to moral objections, which are harder to deal with but could land some people in hot water. Not sure what the right answer is here, but being an objector and losing your job for it seems a little, well, harsh.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 12:03pm

        Re: Re:

        The patch will have to be thoroughly tested, as a it has to work flawlessly first time. A minor mistake could wipe the phone. Changing the source of Input is probably non trivial, as the code should have been written to ensure its source of input.
        There is also the problem, assuming a modern build system, of actually building code ready for signing, which will make keeping this patch fully segregated more difficult. There is a lot more involved here than just making a few changes to the code.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Technically, I don't think it's really a big deal.

        That right there is the problem.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re:

        One question for you - are you a software engineer/coder/or any other variant that could consider themselves knowledgeable enough to work with a block of code and make something happen?

        Because you certainly don't sound like one.

        You seem to think that all of this is simple, trivial, something a junior-nobody could do...but despite its triviality, it's got the entire FBI's collective panties in a wad.

        So it's not as trivial as you think, otherwise why wouldn't the FBI do it themselves? Or ask the NSA?

        Any ideas as to why they would want to take THIS route instead? Perhaps to make it so the NSA doesn't have to divulge their methods in open court?

        Hmmmm?
        Maybe?

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

        • icon
          Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Been working with computers for a very long time (longer than many here have been around. I know enough to know better.

          The 10 count code is a couple of modules, one to track the actual counting and increase the "hidden" counter, and another one which checks the counter before displaying the sign in screen again. Either of those two points would be good for disabling the feature, it's much better to disable the code which increases the counter, rather than the other end, in case other code checks that same counter. So you find the code that increases the counter, and change it from ++ to == 0 or similar, or have it trigger the code that would run to reset it after a successful login (the code is already there).

          The job itself isn't very big.

          The more difficult one would be the communication part, but only if Apple hasn't already created it for their own testing purposes. It's likely they already have the code, so it's just a question of applying it.

          "So it's not as trivial as you think, otherwise why wouldn't the FBI do it themselves? Or ask the NSA?"

          It's trivial for those who are very familiar with the code and have full access to the documentation. Having someone "cold start" on a project would mean likely months of prep work as they work to undesrtand the OS and deal with the complexities of the system itself.

          It wouldn't be the expedient way to do it, and would likely have a lower success chance.

          It's also (as many have stated) about getting the precedent judgement to work from.

          "Hmmmm?
          Maybe?"

          Maybe Santa Claus didn't bring them a "iOS erector set" to work with... Hmmm? Maybe?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            First he talks about being an artist, and now he's suddenly a computer expert.

            Of course he's got all the credentials to back up those claims.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2016 @ 9:10am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Good point. I too have "been working with computers for a very long time" — and until now, it never occurred to me that means I know everything about iOS source code and am much more knowledgeable than Apple engineers and all of the world's encryption experts. All this time, here I was sitting on this amazing "been working with computers" credential and not using it to be considered the world's expert on mobile security! Gee you're clever.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2016 @ 1:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I too have "been working with computers for a very long time"
              I'm old enough now that I strongly doubt I could leap into a new environment and survive through larval stage. Physically, I'm just not up to subsisting on catnaps and caffeine for weeks at a time anymore. There is indeed something to be said for your teens and twenties.

              They say that when you get really old, you need less sleep again. Maybe if my memory holds out that long…

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

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 19 Mar 2016 @ 5:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Things aren't really as different as you may think. They're faster, smaller, and cheaper, but fundamentally no different than pretty much ever (with certain specialist exceptions).

                One of the true joys of being a greybeard engineer working amongst the younger set is that the younger set tends to think that everything is fundamentally new. It makes it easy to look like a damned wizard just by pulling out something that used to be common knowledge 30 years ago.

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

            • icon
              Whatever (profile), 20 Mar 2016 @ 4:26pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              " it never occurred to me that means I know everything about iOS source code and am much more knowledgeable than Apple engineers and all of the world's encryption experts."

              I never claim to be more knowledgeable, just that I know enough to know when they appear to be fibbing or stretching the truth to match their desired results.

              You don't have to be able to build an OS for a phone from scratch to be able to understand how it works in general, and even to understand the different modules in play.

              By your standards, you should never talk about politics, because you haven't been elected, moreover you haven't been the President or run the FBI - so I look forward to your silence on all of these areas and more in the future.

              "Gee you're clever"

              No, just not as dumb as you. From where you stand, that must look impressive.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2016 @ 8:17pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Oh gimme a break. The fact that you know what a ++ and an == are doesn't mean you "know enough to know when they appear to be fibbing" — not when literally every expert on the subject in the world is in agreement that they aren't.

                You don't need to be the foremost authority on something to comment on it. But when your position runs counter to every single person with significant credentials in the subject, a less narcissistic man than you would show at least some willingness to reconsider it.

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

                • icon
                  Whatever (profile), 20 Mar 2016 @ 9:20pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  It's called an opinion, deal with it.

                  I think they are not telling all the truth. They have mentioned things like "features not on consumer models" (suggests they already have it, just not on production phones). When you start to pay attention, you start to understand a couple of weeks work for a few engineers is pretty much what would be needed to apply ANY patch. So it's not like its such a major undertaking that Apple claims it would takes a year.

                  So keep flailing around, but accept that others can have an opinion you don't agree with. I respect your right to be a troll, even if I don't agree with you.

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

                  • icon
                    MrTroy (profile), 20 Mar 2016 @ 9:42pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "I respect your right to be a troll, even if I don't agree with you."

                    Respect. You're doing it wrong.

                    "When you start to pay attention, you start to understand a couple of weeks work for a few engineers is pretty much what would be needed to apply ANY patch."

                    Wasn't that couple of weeks work for a few engineers just to get it to the testing phase, and if any issues are discovered then it will take longer? And there is absolutely no way that a "man-month" or more of development is anything close to a simple change, no matter how much you want to think it is (despite admitting to having no domain knowledge).

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

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 4:30am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "It's called an opinion, deal with it."

                    Yet, you can never deal with anyone else's opinions. Your not so much stating an honest opinion as you are making wild assumptions and rejecting any attempt to call you out on that. You're not even honest enough to admit you were wrong about the amount of work being asked for, even when proof was handed to you since your lazy dishonest ass can't be bothered to research the subject at hand before spouting nonsense.

                    "I respect your right to be a troll"

                    Sorry dude, you're the troll. Your sole purpose commenting on this site is to be contrary to every single article, to the point where you outright lie, misconstrue and flail around finding any excuse to pretend that the article is somehow wrong. If you ever bothered to post an honest opinion or fact from time to time it might not be as noticeable. But, your obsession with trying to attack the articles at every step is extremely clear.

                    But, as ever, I will call you out on every strand of bullshit I see written here, whether it's such a poor liar as yourself, or someone equally deluded. I can handle honest debate, but not your line of obsessive misdirection. If you don't like that, you might wish to try being an honest adult from time to time.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2016 @ 2:55pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    It's called an opinion, deal with it.

                    That's funny, because you've been presenting it like an obvious truth that only an idiot would fail to see.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2016 @ 11:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The job itself isn't very big.

            From Magistrate Judge Pym's Feb 16 order:
            3. Apple's reasonable technical assistance may include, but is not limited to: providing the FBI with a signed iPhone Software file, recovery bundle, or other Software Image File ("SIF") that can be loaded onto the SUBJECT DEVICE. The SIF will load and run from Random Access Memory and will not modify the iOS on the actual phone, the user data partition or system partition on the device's flash memory. The SIF will be coded by Apple with a unique identifier of the phone so that the SIF would only load and execute on the SUBJECT DEVICE. The SIF will be loaded via Device Firmware Upgrade ("DFU") mode, recovery mode, or other applicable mode available to the FBI. Once active on the SUBJECT DEVICE, the SIF will accomplish the three functions specified in paragraph 2.
            From Erik Neuenschwander Feb 25, 2016 declaration:
            19. Apple’s current iPhone operating systems designed for consumer interaction do not run in RAM, but are installed on the device itself. To make them run in RAM, Apple would have to make substantial reductions in the size and complexity of the code.

            20. Apple’s current consumer operating systems do not allow for electronic input of a passcode.

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

      • icon
        JF (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 12:48pm

        Re: Re:

        Let's run a scenario:
        1. Apple loses and is ordered to produce the FBIos.
        2. Every engineer refuses to do the work.
        3. Apple goes back to court and says they have no one who will work on it.
        4. Court has 2 options. Drop the issue or order Apple to find a way.
        5. Assuming Apple is forced it could fire all existing engineers or hire a new team. Either way it will need new people.
        6. No one applies for the position listed as Screw Everyone Engineer with a pay of .5 cents per hour.
        7. So now what can the government do? Can they force Apple to list a position at some rate? I suppose they could be in trouble for making the position suck so hard but what if no one applied even at a reasonable salary then what?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:28am

    Apple should hand over the source code....

    They should encrypt it though. That would really piss law enforcement off... although it would probably take them a couple of months to figure out.
    Another suggestion: Print out the entire source code but black out anything except the word "ass".

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

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 12:10pm

      Re: Apple should hand over the source code....

      Yet another suggestion.

      Hand over the wrong version. BY the time the FBI realise what has happened it will be to late - and the original "mistake" will be deniable.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 12:08pm

    But that still leaves open the question of how does it comply if not a single engineer is willing to help out.

    Who says it has to be Apple engineers? Why not the night-shift janitorial crew...they're Apple employees, too.

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

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 1:33pm

    Sarcasm warning

    It would such a shame if Apple engineers accidentally left a bug in the software such that when the iPhone is compelled to load it, it accidentally brute forces the lock, exceeding the security count, making the phone delete everything. (even if the current version of iOS shows no such behaviour)

    After all, there are never show stopping bugs in production code... are there?

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

    • icon
      Whatever (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 8:40pm

      Re: Sarcasm warning

      You don't think that would lead to criminal prosecution? Tampering with evidence, even with an intentional remote bug would be a big deal. If the bug was "signed off" by a number of people who ignored it, there could be a hell of a lot of Apple people enjoying 3 hots and a cot.

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

      • icon
        G Thompson (profile), 19 Mar 2016 @ 1:43am

        Re: Re: Sarcasm warning

        It would not meet the elements of tampering since it is designed to do it on ALL loads not specific ones. Also the criminality of this would be against Apple not the actual DoJ/FBI Apple would be a very hostile witness and the FBI/DoJ would have to initiate charges.

        Do you really not understand Jury nullification over there? and how bad a PR nightmare this would actually be for your whole justice system

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 19 Mar 2016 @ 2:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Sarcasm warning

          Jury nullification is one of those dirty little secrets in the US in that no-one involved in the legal system wants the public to know about it, and they especially don't want them to put it to use. What use is an unjust law if the public can refuse to apply it after all?

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

          • icon
            G Thompson (profile), 19 Mar 2016 @ 10:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Sarcasm warning

            It's exactly the same here (Australia) and NZ, Canada, etc. It's like "fight club" :)

            This doesn't mean Juries aren't using it, and won't, especially for a case like this where the jury pool would be hugely on the side of Apple. And yes I know your weird voir dire procedures would try to stop it, but that there shows prejudicial problems with the US system too.

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

  • identicon
    anonmyous, 4 May 2016 @ 6:59am

    whats better android or apple

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


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