Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, John Walsh, Liz McMillan, Xenia von Wedel, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Mobile IoT, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Apple vs FBI - The Basics, Explained By @BobGourley | @CloudExpo #Cloud

An update on the ongoing battle between Apple and the U.S. government regarding Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone

#AppleVsFBI – #FBIVsApple – The Basics, Explained, with Links to Original Documents

This post provides an update on the ongoing battle between Apple and the  U.S. government regarding Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone, recovered by police after the horrific massacre in San Bernadino on December 2, 2015.

It is just days before the March 22, 2016, hearing in this long-running, highly publicized dispute between the FBI and Apple, with the FBI’s demands of Apple being variously termed “jailbreak,” put a backdoor into, brute force access, compromise security of, or any number of other descriptors, in the case officially known as In the Matter of the Search of an Apple iPhone Seized During the Execution of a Search Warrant on a Black Lexus IS300, California License Plate 35KGD203. It is a good time, among all the massive press coverage and legal wrangling, to get back to some of the basics of the legal proceedings.

On February 9, 2016, FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI was unable to unlock the iPhone and requests Apple to help. Apple concluded it could not help to the extent required to access the phone data. After attempting to resolve the matter out of court, Apple was ordered by U.S. Magistrate (Central District of California) Sheri Pym on Feb. 16 to assist the FBI in accessing Farook’s iPhone. On Feb. 25, Apple filed a motion to have the court vacate the order. Apple’s motion to vacate is supported by a who’s who of the security and tech law fields, in the form of amicus briefs filed last week by numerous influential individuals, companies and NGOs.

General overview of the law
Technology companies have obligations under (and subject to the conditions of) U.S. law to produce data related to criminal proceedings in their possession. However there are statutory obligations (known as the All Writs Act) that put limits on those obligations. Apple argues in its motion, as do the many tech and public interest companies that have filed friends of the court briefs in this case, that the FBI is exceeding the statutory limits in its request of Apple to help the FBI provide access to the potentially relevant data that may be stored on the SB killer’s phone.

In essence, Apple and friends argue, the government’s demands in this case exceed the intent of the All Writs Act.  Apple and its supporters also contend that the government’s request violate the constitutional rights of Apple. Which specific constitutional rights are asserted to be violated differs somewhat among the briefs, and there hasn’t been time to review and inventory the arguments of all briefs.

Below is an outline of the law under which the Government has obtained an order to compel Apple to “unlock” Farook’s iPhone, and Apple’s defense to that Order.

The order

All Writs Act
The order at issue in this case was made pursuant to the All Writs Act, § 28 U.S.C. 1651 (“AWA”). The AWA says that a court may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.” Basically this law has great latitude in its application, and thus has the potential for abuse. That is, it has vast potential to be used to issue writs (orders) that are not “appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdiction” or “agreeable to the usages and principles of law.”

As pointed out in the amicus brief of 32 Law Professors (in support of Apple), “the AWA tasked the federal courts with a role that was “somewhat constrained.” This provision should not be construed so broadly as to essentially endow courts with legislative authority.  Nor should it be used to give the district court a roving commission” to enlist third parties into law enforcement.” This professors’ amicus brief (as well as Apple’s and many others, argue that overreaching is what the court would do if it does not vacate the order.

Specific demands of the Order
The court’s order requires Apple to perform a very specific and extensive set of tasks. By way of example, the first two parts of those orders are the following:

  1. Apple shall assist in enabling the search of a cellular telephone, Apple make: iPhone 5C, Model: A1532, on the Verizon Network, (the “SUBJECT DEVICE) pursuant to a warrant of this Court by providing reasonable technical assistance to assist law enforcement agents in obtaining access to the data on the SUBJECT DEVICE.
  1. Apple's reasonable technical assistance shall accomplish the following three important functions: (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 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.

Those first two specific orders—and the remaining five—go beyond mere technical assistance. The court order is in essence a work order requiring Apple to perform specific deliverables.

Motion to Vacate and supporting arguments of Apple and Amici
In its Motion to Vacate, Apple objects to these directives because it believes them to be unreasonable (and thus outside the court’s powers under AWA) and because no other views on “reasonableness” (in particular, Apple’s) were considered by the court in making its “reasonableness” determination. Apple begins with arguing that “[T]he software envisioned by the government simply does not exist today.”

The Table of Contents of Apple’s motion to vacate goes on to very clearly outline Apple’s argument why the order should be vacated. That is, the Motion to Vacate explains in great detail why Apple believes the order requires Apple to provide unreasonable assistance and thus, runs afoul of the AWA. In addition to exceeding the scope of the AWA, the order if not vacated would, Apple further argues, violate Apple’s constitutional rights to free speech and due process.

Apple’s Motion to Vacate the order compelling it to assist the FBI makes the following arguments. In crafting its Motion to Vacate, Apple’s own words are clearer than any third pary (such as mine) summation.

  1. The All Writs Act Does Not Provide A Basis To Conscript Apple To Create Software Enabling The Government To Hack Into iPhones. [because]
    1. The All Writs Act Does Not Grant Authority To Compel Assistance Where Congress Has Considered But Chosen Not To Confer Such Authority
    2. The All Writs Act Does Not Authorize Courts To Compel The Unprecedented And Unreasonably Burdensome Conscription Of Apple That The Government Seeks
      1. Apple’s Connection To The Underlying Case Is “Far Removed” And Too Attenuated To Compel Its Assistance
      2. The Order Requested By The Government Would Impose An Unprecedented And Oppressive Burden On Apple And Citizens Who Use The iPhone
      3. The Government Has Not Demonstrated Apple’s Assistance Was Necessary To Effectuating The Warrant.
    3. Other Cases The Government Cites Do Not Support The Type Of Compelled Action Sought Here.
  2. The Order Would Violate The First Amendment And The Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause
    1. The First Amendment Prohibits The Government From Compelling Apple To Create Code
    2. The Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause Prohibits The Government From Compelling Apple To Create The Request Code

That, in essence, is the core of In the Matter of the Search of an Apple iPhone Seized During the Execution of a Search Warrant on a Black Lexus IS300, California License Plate 35KGD203.

Of course many other issues are raised in the amicus filings, and ther are additional related filings that have occurred that are relevant to this matter, such as ongoing proceedings in a similar case in Brooklyn, New York, and a recently-released report of the Congressional Research Service that covers the California proceeding (as well as analgous actions if an individual owner of the data/phone is being compelled to provide law enforcement.  I summarize that report here.  There is no paucity of widely available information about this case on the Internet. When in doubt about, it is best to stick to the original documents such as those I have linked in this article.

Apple’s request to vacate the order will be heard on March 22, 2016.

The following are the Amicus Briefs in Support of Apple

  • 32 Law Professors
  • Access Now and Wickr Foundation
  • ACT/The App Association
  • Airbnb, Atlassian, Automattic, CloudFlare, eBay, GitHub, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Mapbox, Medium, Meetup, Reddit, Square, Squarespace, Twilio, Twitter and Wickr
  • Amazon, Box, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nest, Pinterest, Slack, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Yahoo
  • American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California, and ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties
  • AT&T
  • AVG Technologies, Data Foundry, Golden Frog, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), the Internet Association, and the Internet Infrastructure Coalition
  • BSA,The Software Alliance, the Consumer Technology Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, and TechNet
  • Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation and 46 technologists, researchers, and cryptographers
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and eight consumer privacy organizations
  • Intel
  • iPhone security and applied cryptography experts including Dino Dai Zovi, Dan Boneh (Stanford), Charlie Miller, Dr. Hovav Shacham (UC San Diego), Bruce Schneier (Harvard), Dan Wallach (Rice) and Jonathan Zdziarski
  • Lavabit
  • The Media Institute
  • Privacy International and Human Rights Watch

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.