Thankfully, the proposal has been dropped. What continues to amaze me is that the positive legitimate uses of encryption are purposely ignored by those proposing a so-called "back door".
The issue of encryption also raises "slippery slope" concerns. The argument is made that encryption has to be weak to facilitate law enforcement. By that train of logic, search warrants should be abolished as an impediment to "facilitating law enforcement".
I hope that those proposing a "back door" will finally give-up based on logic. Unfortunately, I suspect that after a suitable waiting period, those proposing weak encryption will once again hysterically start beating the war drums and foaming at the mouth.
The encryption issue demands that our personal/business information needs to be protected through unbreakable encryption. While watching TV today, I had one of those epiphany moments, in watching the LifeLock commercial.
Exactly how do they collect all the personal information to verify whether your identity is in the process of being stolen?.
They assert that they monitor xxx millions of transactions per second. For them to verify that the data does or does not belong to you implies that they must be sniffing un-encryptic packets. A security shortfall. LifeLock could be using other means too, but their ability to sniff would imply other security shortfalls.
The fact that LifeLock can somehow "monitor" you implies weak ineffective security. We need unbreakable encryption.
Given all the hysteria over the iPhone, it would seem that DRM needs to be implemented with a back-door so that the government can access the content at will. We don't want the terrorists to hide their communications behind a security wall. Once that "Key" is developed it will escape into the wild, so what will the owners of DRM encumbered equipment actually get in the way of a benefit?
The other night, Oliver North was on TV concerning the iPhone/encryption issue. Essentially he stated that attempting to break the iPhone encryption was a misplaced effort. That greater emphasis needed to be placed on gathering "human" intelligence (spies) and less on "signal" intelligence (iPhone).
Fox News went on its usual tirade. In this case showing the video of the three the supposed terrorists. Fox News lamented that if these people were observed on video before the attack, they should have been caught before the attack. Fox News then (inappropriately) asserted that security was lax. Unbelievable.
One of the concerns, with mass surveillance, that Fox News overlooked; watching video of people milling around is incredibly boring. It would be very difficult for anyone to endlessly watch this and they would rapidly lose interest out of shear boredom. It is highly unfortunate, but surveillance footage is probably only useful after the fact.
Oliver North, surprisingly said tonight, that attempting to break into the iPhone was a pointless activity. He said that "signal" intelligence (iPhone) is not substitute for "human" intelligence (spies). North recommended placing more effort into "human" intelligence.
Two points on this issue that seem to be overlooked.
1. Do we have any reason to suspect that there would be any useful information on that phone? Obviously, that can't be determined now, but there may be indirect evidence to imply an answer.
2. Next, all communications between the phone and the outside world would have been expected to go through the phone company. That would imply that the FBI can follow-up on those leads by getting information from the phone company. In turn, that would imply that breaking into the phone would really not be necessary as the FBI could do old fashioned footwork to interview those sending/receiving phone calls and text messages from that phone.
As I read this, I listened to Fox News once again asserting that Apple is being unpatriotic and "protecting" terrorists.
Similar to what Mike wrote about the NYT: "But the thing that stood out for me was the desperate need of the NY Times reporters to insist that there must be encryption used by the attackers, despite the near total lack of evidence of any such use." Fox News seems to believe, without any positive evidence that there must be a wealth of en encryptic information on th iPhone. For all we know, there may be no information on the iPhone.
It seems that the real purpose behind "breaking" encryption on this one iPhone, is not for the information contained, but for the precedent of being able to "break" encryption for any whimsical purpose identified by law enforcement. After, all - as Fox News puts it - we have to arrest those evil pedophiles that Apple is helping hide.
This morning, on Fox Business News; the mindless tirade to "break" iPhone encryption continues as necessary action to assist law enforcement in getting those pedophiles. Furthermore, that Apple has blood on its hand for not assisting law enforcement.
Essentially missing, though there were some brief nods in that direction, was that if law enforcement can break encryption, so can the hackers. So if the hackers steal sensitive information and do national security damage, will the FOX News pundits turn around and claim that Apple has been negligent in protecting national security and once again accuse Apple of having blood on its hands?
The hysterical media outrage generated by this one iPhone, clearly points to an attempt to manipulate public opinion in go along with making life easier for law enforcement in the name of security. "They're not as interested in solving the problem as they are in getting a legal precedent...". Very Orwellian.
Fox News this morning unbelievably continued to wage its erroneous biased war against the iPhone. In this case, there was a person who created third party software that allows communications to be encrypted. Fox News continued to rage how the encryption of the iPhone needs to be "broken" so law enforcement can examine the communications on an iPhone.
Apparently Fox News was clueless to the fact that third party encryption software is different from the iPhone itself. Breaking the iPhone, will not magically give law enforcement access to the communications of terrorists using this third party software.
Moreover, the existence of this third party encryption software means that the attack on the iPhone by law enforcement could be considered moot. Should the iPhone encryption be broken, the terrorists will simply adapt by using another form of encryption.
What then security people? Essentially you have achieved nothing except create a security risk for law abiding people.
To reiterate, unbreakable encryption is needed for legitimate business and personal reasons. Breaking it will only mean that the law abiding will become susceptible to security breaches and malicious hacking.
The media pundits keep projecting to the people the faulty mantra of security for this nation versus the privacy of individuals. The obvious reason, give-up on some privacy to be secure. That is a false mantra that must to be aggressively refuted.
The "correct" viewpoint is that society needs unbreakable encryption for its security to conduct legitimate business. One simple example, conducting on-line business with a credit card. The benefits of encryption for the public appear to be purposely dismissed out-of-hand.
So if you happen to hear of this debate as being an issue of national security versus individual privacy, refute it. This issue is about your personal security as also being part of national security that needs to be protected.
The fact that this one phone has become a cause célèbre leads me to believe that the proverbial "someone" is foster mass hysteria to use this one phone as an "ice breaker" to weaken encryption in the name of Orwellian "security" to "protect" the public. Virtually unmentioned is the need for unbreakable security to protect our credit card transaction, protect our businesses, or to protect our power grid. I guess protecting them is not a "security" issue.
Furthermore, many security people are pointing out that bad players, such as China and Russia, are attempting to hack into US computer systems. They consequently insist that our computer systems be made more secure. Yet, with this one iPhone, as an example, they actually want to make our computer systems less secure. Hypocrites.
Hillary is pretty good, unfortunately, at slick rhetoric that allows her to be on "both" sides of an issue. She did the same with encryption, but she was clearly outside of her element and fumbled at finding the appropriate language.
Once the politicians realize that the NSA meta-data program will be essentially useless; they will come up with a new scheme. Cell phone registration.
Everyone buying a cell phone will have to prove who they are with some sort of government ID. Similar to auto registration, periodically (once a year maybe) you will have to renew your "registration" and re-prove who you are. Just think a whole new security role for the idle TSA employees!!! Those failing to renew would have their cell phones disabled immediately.
PS: Each time you renew, all the phone calls will be downloaded into a friendly NSA computer.
The NSA meta-data program will be nearly as useless as the supposed "Golden Key" in combating terrorism. 1. The "bad" people can change phones and/or number on a periodic basis. 2. The "bad" people can use fake names. Old phones linked to a name can be tossed. A new phone with a new number and new name can be bought. 3. Before, during, or after an incident the entire set of cell phones used for that incident can be replaced during each phase. (that would imply using 3 cell phones per person)
Off course the NSA data-collection effort could work if the "bad" people are stupid; such as keeping the same phone for several years.
Good example. If I recall correctly Sony even went so far as to claim that the software could not be modified by the user.
Also there have been several music servers, where the companies pulled the plug. I don't know, however, if the users of those music servers lost their investment of if they were given other opportunities to save what they paid for.
Fox News has been brazingly pushing for the reinstitution of data collection effort in the name of making it easier for law enforcement and for security. Unfortunately, they are not interviewing those who believe that the data collection efforts would be futile and un-Constitutional.
1. The terrorists could cycle to new phone numbers on a periodic basis and/or after a major event. Essentially that would make the collection of phone numbers almost useless.
2. The stupid "back door" solution to "break" encryption keeps surfacing and surfacing. Well, the terrorists can develop their own encryption making a "back door" useless. Also these "back door" pundits don't seem to realize that a lot of our activities, such as financial transactions, requires strong encryption.