And it's worth asking as well: we always talk about on this site the importance of security holes in programs coming to light, precisely so that they can be patched and fixed with greater security in the end. Sometimes not in ways I approve of - I don't exactly think that because someone's front door is left wide open that therefore you need to walk into the house and tresspass in order to make the point that there's a security hole. In fact local police here in the U.K. did that exact same thing and were rightly criticised for it: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/01/26/coventry-police-criticised-over-burglary-patrol-tactic_n_ 9075722.html
So I don't believe it is honourable to hack a company through its security hole in order to make them aware of that security hole.
However, I am in favour of raising awareness of those security holes (discretely, so that noone may take advantage of them in the meantime). And ultimately that means Apple need to make it so that they can't hack their way into a phone whatsoever.
If they are still able to hack into the phone, it's a flaw with the initial design in the first place. And if you acknowledge that this flaw is unavoidable because that's the nature of coding - that is, someone with the source code can recode and infiltrate - you have to accept that it's the case regardless, and the FBI are entitled to get Apple to hack this single phone without hacking others.
Asking for one key is not the same as asking for all keys. If it were, we wouldn't be trusting our door locks at all.
Well you could say that could happen after any crime. You wouldn't therefore dismiss the validity of warranted searches on that basis.
I mean, state forces can bully anyone into spying without a warrant in secrecy in regards to any kind of pretence. You could therefore say the slippery slope would apply to any court order and do away with prosecutions completely.
I've recently read a book by the ever brilliant Simon Singh called The Code Book. It's not as up-to-date because it was published in the year 2000 I believe. However it details the historical progression of encryption from Ancient Egypt to the internet and provides a fascinating look into encryption arms races: the prosecution against the Mary Queen of Scots, the uncracked Beale Papers, the Enigma machine and Alan Turing, the use of ultra-rare languages from the Navajo as a means of encryption against the Japanese in WWII, the decipherment of lost scripts such as Linear B providing revolutionary material for historians to better document the past (the conclusion of which will fill us folk who are passionate about science and the enlightenment with such pride and joy), and finishes both on one of the most counter-intuitive sceintific breakthroughs: that of assymetric encryption through a clever interpretation of modular mathematics and number theory, and the purely theoretical concept of quantum computing which harnesses the one-time pad perfect encryption (and will take you a good couple of reads to process as it did with me - if you think you understand quantum theory, you don't understand quantum theory).
Encryption has always been mathematical warfare. Let us just hope nobody solves the P vs NP problem before quantum encryption gets here.
I'm starting to have second thoughts about this particular case. Don't get me wrong I'm all for civil liberties and "warrant or gtfo", but a warrant was delivered here and I'm beginning to suspect Apple's "masterkey" theory is a bit far-fetched.
If the argument is "if we were made to crack this phone all other phones (the 5C) will be compromised" but it's worth bearing in mind that the FBI have stated they do not want possession of the hack-update that will unlock this phone. See here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35601035 so if anything Apple are at liberty to destroy the hack after it's all unlocked and finished.
What's being asked is, essentially, to customise the iOS source code and compile it for this device only, which again it must be stressed is not an update required to be in possession of the FBI. If this were not the case I would probably protest against that, but that alone, not the hacking at the behest of a warrant. Because it would be the equivalent of - don't think "masterkey" - giving a copy of all unique keys to everybodys' houses for the sake of allowing law enforcement to find one key into a single house. But it is quite possible to be against the former and be for the latter, and suspect that the keybearer is incorrect when he says the handing over of one key will lead to the handover of all keys as some kind of "slippery slope".
Slippery slope fallacies exist too, and this could be one of them.
"Keys" isn't even the right metaphor here anyway. What we are talking about is not encryption, but hacking. It's also not right to say "if someone else has a way in bad guys will exploit it" - well, does the fact that "good guys" can change their source code for updates on their end also mean a slippery slope where "bad guys" will exploit? In other words, is the fact that source code is updateable at ALL in itself a "backdoor"? It can't be, unless you really stretch it. I mean, criminals can break into companies and steal source code all the time e.g. Half Life 2, but we wouldn't talk about thatin the rhetoric of "You SEE? This is why we need end-to-end encry-*cough*, sorry, source code security!" There is no such thing as "end-to-end" source code which is unhackable by a good or bad middleman.
The point about true "end-to-end" encryption is that not even the encryption designer, Apple, can get in. But if Apple can get in here, the "backdoor" is already there, but that's because of source code, not asymmetric keys or anything.
As for this slippery slope, again no court or even government agency would seriously say that because we need to break into this guy's house, therefore all citizens from now on must have no locks on their doors. It wouldn't get far.
Re: Why this is an impossible request from the court
Good post. If it is the case that we're getting to the stage where Apple are winning on a microscopic warfare front, to the point where a simple 4-digit pin will do, for all practical purposes this would suffice for security in itself.
Who needs copyright law when you can design device-unique combined hardware/softwa-*cough*- Digital Rights Management that makes the copying of flash data exponentially hard? Apple seems to be able to stop the copying process so well with natural scarcity as it is that they don't even need copyright law! I guess the FBI will be joining forces with the EFF to condemn DRM then.
Anyway, I wouldn't want to be one of those Apple programmers. One slip-up, one bug, one wrong library, and you face possible federal prosecution for triggering the self-erase function.
What would be hilarious is if they unlock the phone only to find third-party advanced RSA encryption on the phone without any private prime-number keys - the only location being inside the criminal's mind, memorised using mnemonics. Because after all that is the only way you can guarantee (for now) that nobody will ever crack your messages.
"There is nothing a new copyright holder can do to stop that."
You've said all I could say.
Copyright is unenforcable. You cannot stop unauthorised copies when it is ultimately everybody else's decision as to whether copies exist or not. Copyright law gets zero credit for the funding of creative artists, because such a law cannot possibly "deter" or otherwise socially condition society into paying for work.
It's not enforcable, as you've said. And considering these specific photos, why would you want it to be?
I have a question: if Digital Rights Management really can achieve that magical ability to prevent games from ever being copied without authorisation, why would games companies need copyright law whatsoever?
The answer is that they need copyright law to prevent games from being copied without authorisation.
In other words, you can have either copyright law or Digital Rights Management. But if want to have both, you'll just look silly.
I never did agree that there is such a thing as a "false consciousness" conspiracy. Google don't "brainwash" any more than NBC or Fox News, because the inherent problem of any stupidity is the stupidity of the people themselves.
Chomsky is overrated, putting it mildly.
"It reflects poorly however on Google because their results are more of a popularity contest rather than an attempt to get you the best results."
Your obscure definition of "best results" proves exactly my point. Who is to say your "best results" are any more appropriate than anyone else's "best results"? You want to be the puppeteer to pull the very strings you deplore.
It's the same mentality that is currently coming from here in the UK in regards to Leveson, in regards to Scottish nats lashing at the BBC for "bias", in regards to GamerGate thinking the approprate response to SJWs thinking gaming media is biased against their interests is to say gaming journalism is biased against THEIR interests, Corbynistas claiming every media criticism is a "smear", and now (predictably, as Google is naturally a target for conspiracists) that Google is the big, evil, moustached organisation pulling all the strings of our collective brainwashed unconscious or something.
Well this issue is all well and good and everything, but shouldn't we be screaming about the blatant LotR copyright infringement going on right now?! And the infringment of the photographer of Erdogan?!!?
Stop violating identity rights of creative work! Stop infringing on freedoms!! You freedom hater you!
A "digital version of fiat currency" would be if the Federal Reserve accepted JPEG dollars, which only they are allowed to print, as legal tender. But policing people from making forgeries of the JPEG dollars would fail spectacularly, and such a silly idea would very quickly fall apart in society.
But for some reason we all fall for a delusion that is something very similar. Ask yourself: what else is a system involving failed attempts at artificial scarcity, where you choose who is and who is not allowed to make copies in order to give the "money" value, where not just JPEG is legal tender but ANYTHING with the dollar sign on it is legal tender, yet is collectively, religiously believed by many to be a workable way of protecting property rights?
Start asking more copyright economists this question and see if you can get any good rebuttals.
It's not fiat, because you can't just print a new BitCoin whenever you please. It's much more like a gold standard, where BitCoins need a lot of work to mine before you can circulate new ones, like gold.
Okay I'll take the opposition view here: I don't think BitCoin should be banned but, I do think it is doomed as an idea.
I think a few folk here interested in economics will know what I mean why I use the word "utopia" to describe the gold standard as the basis of your currency. It may stop state artificial-inflation of the money thus stopping the arguably unjust deprivation of folk's value of the dollar (though maybe just if you consider it taxation..), but it cannot keep up with the fluctuations of outside markets, additional markets, assumes there is enough gold to go around, and all the usual arguments as to why the gold standard is just a libertarian dream, nothing more.
And what is BitCoin if it is not another attempt at a gold standard? The giveaway is in the language when they are talked about as things that can be "mined", things that are naturally scarce, things that are difficult to move around! (Assume your customer has a computer + ISP, and assume that the peer-to-peer technology won't slow right down overtime...) But here's the hard truth: we need fiat money, otherwise we become defenseless against the problems that come from capitalism since there's no way to recirculate the money where it's really needed. Sure it means that you can take value from others just by printing the stuff, but it does mean a democracy has options to try to mend it's economic troubles in a more practical way (e.g. sub-prime mortgage crashes) without being severely lagged by the harder limitations of gold.
If this is an incorrect interpretation I'd like to hear why.
My views on this have evolved a bit: I don't think the solution to piracy is to offer more legitimate service on demand. For one thing it's a bit utopian to expect such services to always be ready at the whim for consumers (servers crash, need upgrading, traffic peaks etc), and if you have an audience that must have their demands met instantaneously, with no degree of patience whatsoever, it only takes the slightest thing to throw their patience off and go for a pirated option.
The issue of "solving piracy" in a copyright legal system is too shallow a debate for me. I want the more radical option of acknowledging that copyright is a stupid idea to begin with, and get rid of it altogether.
I have a couple of metaphors to best compare copyright with to show it's unenforcability. The first one is that of a currency. Copyright is for all intents and purposes a currency (not backed by any standard like gold) because you are making copies of something of artificial value and forbidding anyone else from making a copy without your permission, with the intent of giving value to something originally not of material value through social conditioning.
The trouble is that we all know why a system of currency where "anything with a dollar sign on it counts as a dollar and only we, the US state, may make copies of that dollar" would not work as a system of money, while "anything with hard-to-copy special paper with special printed markings and authentication strips that can only be uniquely created by us the US state may be made with our permission, whilst anyone else attempting it will be caught rather easily, counts as a dollar" would work, as it evidently does. Try protecting your dollar forgeries through copyright legislation instead of fraudulent currency legislation, and change your definition of dollar to "a copyright of the dollar symbol" to see how far under that would get you the country.
Monopoly money is used as a tool of ridicule against a politician's financial policies for precisely this reason: everybody knows that it would be horrendous to circulate Monopoly money as your attempt at a state currency. Yet, because Monopoly money is copyrighted, in theory this should work and should be enforceable as a tradable commodity. But we all know how easily we could cheat such a system. Not even Ron Paul would use such a system of evading state-controlled-and-inflated money.
The second metaphor to describe copyright's uselessness is this: memes. Richard Dawkins coined the word to describe a cultural unit that replicates similar to genes on a Darwinian level, to show that Darwinian evolution happens in other areas. It is more than a metaphor, because all language, ideology, tradecraft and tradition can be described as things that have passed on down the generations.
Memes spread from person to person through copying. Let me reiterate: copying. What the copyright advocates claim is rather extraordinary. They believe not only that can control this replication process, but that they can forbid everyone else from doing so if they choose. So that Darwinian evolution only applies in this little bubble they've set themselves. As if they can predict the course of cultural evolution their art will take and know what steps will be needed to put a stop to it. As we all know, copyrighted material can manifest as viral form and not just digitally, and in doing so they take the form of memes. The Bible is one of the oldest memes/collection of memes in the world, but the Catholic Church could not stop the Reformation, which need I remind you all was pushed forward by unauthorised copying of the holy book that church wanted to forbid at all costs.
I don't really need the internet to show why the attempt to restrict and/or control memes will not go the way you intend. You cannot stop folk passing on art to next-door neighbours/friends who haven't paid for it for example. You can't stop the art's mutation into something else (stupidly called "recoding" in some copyright circles that want a put a stop to it, for unrelated reasons of artist "identity" as property), because nobody can claim to stop a genetic mutation let alone a memetic one.
I once heard someone say on forums/boards like this the following: "Intellectual property is all in the mind" and I thought it was very good at honing in on what I'm meaning here.
If you get past this mentality and see it for the doomed, incompetent policy that it is, you can look to the paywalls that work and guarantee the artist real property powers to set whatever price he/she wants for work. The assurance contract economies are the greatest functional alternatives precisely because it sees the value in the work done to do the art, not the intangible end-product which is de facto worth Monopoly money. "I will only do this work if I receive $100,000 in payment" interferes with no freedoms and does not have this contradiction of labour/property that copyright seems to have. Freedom of creativity and ability to protect property (strictly should be called worker's rights) are all protected with this simple request, where the $100,000 must be met by the other end of the market who have an interest in seeing the art: the audience.
Which is why Kickstarter and Patreon are the real revolutionaries here, not Netflix, Spotify or iTunes. The latter have to push their costs to zero as much as they can to satisfy a crowd with no responsibilities to pay the artist under copyright. But with crowdfunding - specifically assurance contract economies - where the art is forbidden from being released at all until the artist is paid up, it makes piracy truly impossible and therefore it becomes the only way to really make piracy stop. This way the audience must pay in order to get any art at all, and at the whim set by the artist. And you have a functioning free market where the artist can set the prices, make the profits, and not deliver the art if the audience isn't meeting their dues. Trading your physical work done for the collective payment of the audience functions as a market. Just look to tickets, subscriptions, pre-orders etc to see assurance contracts in action.
That to me is a far greater method of making creativity work that has some real force behind it. Not this silly game where you're chasing everybody around the world for Monopoly money forgeries.