Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Anybody surprised?

If so, may I ask what the hell planet you’ve been living on all these years?

The setup:

Apparently the FBI is in fact asking Apple for the sort of assistance least injurious to its security system: Gabe says they’d let Apple retain the phone in its security-crippled state, while the FBI attempted the brute-force manner of cracking the security code (which shouldn’t take all that long — 10,000 or even 100,000 variations in a possible touchpad security code could take days to break for a computer).

That way, the key is never not in Apple’s sole possession. I suppose the FBI could try to hack the key as they perform this operation, but I also suppose Apple could have people on staff watching for just that, and ready to stop them. And then go to the court saying, accurately, the FBI has violated its own conditions.

It’s a good post. If these things are true, Apple’s position is weaker than it seemed to me.

All well and good, I guess, except that part where you forgot the First Rule Of Government: give ’em an inch, and they’ll take a mile. In other words, in a sort of inversion of the First Rule Of Bargaining (wherein your initial proposal is way more than you actually expect to get in the end), the first thing the government demands is not by any means what they really want, or expect to get; they’re going to wind up with absolutely everything they can glom onto before it’s all said and done. Thus:

The Justice Department is pursuing court orders to make Apple Inc. help investigators extract data from iPhones in about a dozen undisclosed cases around the country, in disputes similar to the current battle over a terrorist’s locked phone, according to a newly-unsealed court document.

The other phones are evidence in cases where prosecutors have sought, as in the San Bernardino, Calif., terror case, to use an 18th-century law called the All Writs Act to compel the company to help them bypass the passcode security feature of phones that may hold evidence, according to a letter from Apple which was unsealed in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday.

The letter, written last week from an Apple lawyer to a federal judge, lists the locations of those phone cases: Four in Illinois, three in New York, two in California, two in Ohio, and one in Massachusetts.

The letter doesn’t describe the specific types of criminal investigations related to those phones, but people familiar with them said they don’t involve terrorism cases.

Yesterday: just one phone, and it’s TERRORISM, you guys! Today: just twelve phones, but that’s ABSOLUTELY ALL, we promise! And the check is in the mail, and that gooey, slimy stuff on your chin is DEFINITELY not semen, and we didn’t do it, and it never happened, and it was three other guys anyway. Tomorrow: THE WORLD.

Suckers. Hats off to Apple for resisting these sneaks and snoops. And I don’t really much care what Apple’s motives might be in doing so, nor how much FederalGovCo and its handwringing neocon cheering section may weep and wail over the prospect of “damaging” or “hindering” their ability to prosecute the phony War On Something Or Other by refusing to give these dimestore dictators a free pass to spy on anybody and everybody via their phones. Those of you offended by Apple’s insolence and insubordination can get back to me when you’re ready to name the real enemy in your phony “war” and start doing something effective about them, rather than simply using Muslim terrorism as an excuse to expand the Superstate and hogtie us even worse than we are now.

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