Apple-FBI

On February 16, 2016, a U.S. federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI hack into the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino.

The FBI asked Apple to create a version of iOS that would both disable passcode security features and allow passcodes to be entered electronically, allowing it to then brute force the passcode on the device.

Apple announced that it would oppose the order in an open letter penned by Tim Cook, who said the FBI's request would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption. Apple said the software the FBI asked for could serve as a "master key" able to be used to get information from any iPhone or iPad - including its most recent devices - while the FBI claimed it only wanted access to a single iPhone.

Apple's dispute with the FBI ended on March 28, 2016 after the government found an alternate way to access the data on the iPhone through the help of Israeli firm Cellebrite and withdrew the lawsuit.

'Apple-FBI' Articles

Indian Government Purchasing Cellebrite Technology Used to Bypass Locked iPhones

India's Forensic Science Laboratory is in negotiations to purchase the security bypassing technology used by Israeli mobile software developer Cellebrite, the company that the FBI enlisted to help unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter earlier in the year (via The Economic Times). The FBI needed Cellebrite's "mobile forensics solutions" to bypass the lock on the iPhone 5c in question, a method which Apple vehemently opposed throughout the lengthy public spat between it and the U.S. Justice Department. Cellebrite has worked with government and law enforcement agencies "around the world," and the FBI's interaction with the company was reported earlier in the year to cost somewhere around $1 million. The terms of India's purchasing agreement with Cellebrite were not laid out, but an anonymous official from the Forensic Science Laboratory said that the Indian government is expected to get the unlocking technology fairly soon. “We are likely to have the technology within a month or so. India will become a global hub for cases where law enforcement is unable to break into phones,” said a senior FSL official. All officials spoke on the condition of anonymity. As the FSL official mentioned, after its purchase of Cellebrite India intends to become the "global hub" for cases similar to the one between Apple and the FBI that occurred this year, since it will now own the "entire tool" to open encrypted smartphones. It's mentioned, although not in much detail, that requests the FSL receives by other institutes to unlock a smartphone "will be entertained at a fee."

FBI Looking Into 'Legal and Technical Options' for Entering Another Terrorist's iPhone

A new case might lead the FBI and Apple into another fight over security and privacy on smartphones, following a confirmation yesterday by FBI special agent Rich Thorton that the FBI has the iPhone of Dahir Adan in its possession (via Wired). Adan was the culprit behind the stabbing of 10 people in a Minnesota mall in mid-September, and was eventually shot and killed by police. After the event, terrorist organization ISIS claimed credit for the attack on social media, but "no evidence has emerged to suggest ISIS had a hand in planning or executing the attack." During a press conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota yesterday, Thorton confirmed that the FBI has Adan's iPhone and that it is locked with a passcode. According to the special agent, the organization is "still trying to figure out how to gain access to the phone's contents." The issue currently is that the model and version of iOS running on the iPhone is known only to the FBI. Following the launch of iOS 8 in 2014, any iOS device running the software is encrypted to an extent that no malicious outsider -- or even Apple itself -- can get into the iPhone or iPad. “Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked,” Thornton told reporters, “We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.” Because of this, the deciding factor on whether or not the new issue could lead to another San Bernardino-related debate between Apple and the FBI hinges on the software and model of his iPhone (iOS 8 can run on iPhone 4s and newer devices). For now, Thorton said that

News Organizations Team Up in Lawsuit Against FBI Over San Bernardino iPhone Hacking Case

A group of three news outlets, including Gannett, the Associated Press and Vice Media, filed a lawsuit today against the FBI on grounds relating to the bureau's decision to keep its method of hacking into San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's iPhone a secret. The news organizations are looking for more information about how exactly the FBI entered the iPhone, what "outside party" helped with the process, and how much the government paid for it (via USA Today). Gannett, the AP, and Vice Media have each sought details on the hack under the Freedom of Information Act, but the FBI denied the requests, arguing that "revealing the records would imperil its enforcement efforts." Now the organizations are teaming up and asking the court to force the FBI to release the requested information. While the security drama swirls, University of Cambridge researcher Sergei Skorobogatov has released proof countering the FBI's claim that it couldn't get into Farook's iPhone without Apple's help. In his report (via Engadget), Skorobagatov detailed his process in bypassing the passcode retry counter of an iPhone 5c running iOS 9, which he said "does not require any expensive and sophisticated equipment." This was achieved by desoldering the NAND Flash chip of a sample phone in order to physically access its connection to the SoC and partially reverse engineering its proprietary bus protocol. The process does not require any expensive and sophisticated equipment. All needed parts are low cost and were obtained from local electronics distributors. By using the described and successful

Privacy Advocates Cite NSA Hack as Vindication of Apple's Fight With FBI

Privacy advocates have claimed the breach of hacking tools and exploits apparently stolen from the National Security Agency has vindicated Apple's stance in its dispute with the FBI earlier this year. Last week, reports emerged that a hacker group called the "Shadow Brokers" had allegedly stolen a cache of the NSA's top espionage tools and offered to sell them to the highest bidder. The malware was linked to the "Equation Group", a secretive team of cyber spies widely believed to be associated with the NSA and its state partners. The hacking collective that stole the malware posted two sets of files online, including a free sample of the stolen data, which dates back to 2013, and a second encrypted file whose decryption key went up for sale in a bitcoin auction. Many saw the auction as a stunt. But the attack code posted by the hackers appeared to be real, according to former NSA personnel who worked in the agency's hacking division, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO). "Without a doubt, they're the keys to the kingdom," said one former TAO employee, who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal operations. "The stuff you're talking about would undermine the security of a lot of major government and corporate networks both here and abroad." "It's a big deal," said Dave Aitel, an ex-NSA research scientist and CEO of penetration testing firm Immunity. "We'd be panicking." Whistle-blowing website Wikileaks tweeted that it also had the data and would release it "in due course". News of the leak has been

Political Will for Encryption Law Has Weakened Since Apple-FBI Dispute

Support for encryption legislation in the U.S. has flatlined and the push for changes in federal law following the San Bernardino shootings has petered out, according to sources in congressional offices, the administration and the tech sector (via Reuters). On February 16, a U.S. federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI to unlock the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead. Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein. The FBI asked Apple to create a version of iOS that would both disable passcode security features and allow passcodes to be entered electronically, allowing it to then brute force the passcode on the device. Apple announced that it would oppose the order in an open letter penned by Tim Cook, who said the FBI's request would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption. Apple claimed the software the FBI asked for could serve as a "master key" able to be used to get information from any iPhone or iPad - including its most recent devices - while the FBI claimed it only wanted access to a single iPhone. Apple's dispute with the FBI ended on March 28, after the government found an alternate way to access the data on the iPhone through the help of "professional hackers" and withdrew the lawsuit as a result. During the controversy, a Senate Intelligence Committee encryption bill was announced by committee leaders Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, which aimed to force companies to

Apple Rehires Security and Encryption Expert Jon Callas Following FBI Dispute

Following its very public encryption battle with the FBI, Apple has rehired software engineer and and security expert Jon Callas, reports Reuters. Callas, who has previously worked at Apple, is known for co-founding encrypted communications services Silent Circle, Blackphone, and PGP Corporation. Apple's decision to rehire Callas comes amid rumors the company is working on improving the security of its iOS devices. Apple has said it will continually improve security to keep ahead of hackers, and its dispute with the FBI is said to have spurred the company begin work on implementing security measures "even it can't hack." Earlier this year, Apple was ordered to assist the FBI in the unlocking of the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, an order it fought because the FBI was asking for new software that would bypass iPhone passcode security measures. Apple insisted the software was "too dangerous to create," setting dangerous precedents that could lead to a weakening of overall device encryption. The FBI eventually dropped the case after finding an alternate method to breach the iPhone, but the fight over encryption is far from over. According to Reuters, Callas supports Apple's position and is opposed to companies being compelled to break their own encryption by the government, but he believes law enforcement officials should be able to take advantage of software vulnerabilities, the method the FBI ultimately used to get into Farook's iPhone 5c.Callas has said he is against companies being compelled by law enforcement to break into their own

FBI Director Expects Legal Battle Over Encryption to Continue

In a briefing with reporters, FBI director James Comey said that he expects litigation over the encryption of mobile devices to continue, as encryption is "essential tradecraft" of terrorist organizations like ISIS, reports Reuters. Comey indicated that the debate involving both legal and privacy issues over whether the federal government can compel tech companies to unlock personal devices in the interest of national security is far from over in a briefing with reporters at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.Since October, FBI experts have examined nearly 4,000 devices and have been unable to unlock around 500, according to Comey. He thinks none of these devices are the same model as San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's iPhone 5c, which means the method the FBI used to unlock that phone would not work on these other models. The U.S. Justice Department dropped two lawsuits against Apple in the past couple of months. The first case was an attempt to order Apple to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, but the Justice Department dropped the case when it found a contractor that could unlock the device for under $1 million. The second case was a New York drug case, which was dropped when investigators unlocked the phone in question by hand. Comey also confirmed reports that the identity of the contractors who unlocked the iPhone 5c is a closely-guarded secret within the FBI, saying that he had a "good sense" of the identity of the third-party contractor but was not aware of its identity. Finally, the FBI director mentioned that WhatsApp's new end-to-end encryption

New Report Says FBI Paid Less Than $1 Million to Unlock San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

Last week, FBI director James Comey hinted at how much the agency paid to unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's iPhone, saying it cost more than he will make in the next seven years and four months. The number worked out to around $1.3 million, as Comey's annual salary is $183,000. However, sources now tell Reuters that the amount was actually under $1 million. Although the FBI says it will keep the technique it used to unlock Farook's iPhone 5c a secret, sources tell Reuters that the agency can use the method on other iPhone 5c's running iOS 9. The FBI has physical possession of the mechanism used to unlock the phone and does not need to pay the contractor any more money for further uses. The contractor responsible for the method is a closely-held secret within the FBI, with Comey being in the dark himself, according to Reuters' sources. In mid-April, it was reported that the FBI hired "professional hackers," at least one of which is a gray hat researcher that sells flaws to governments, black market groups or surveillance companies. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

FBI Gave First Security Disclosure Under 'Vulnerability Equities Process' to Apple on April 14

On April 14, the FBI informed Apple of a security flaw in older versions of iOS and OS X, its first vulnerability disclosure to Apple under the Vulnerability Equities Process, reports Reuters, citing information obtained directly from the Cupertino company. The Vulnerability Equities Process allows federal agencies to determine whether critical security flaws should be kept private for law enforcement use or disclosed to companies to allow them to patch major vulnerabilities. The security flaw the FBI shared with Apple pertained to older versions of the iPhone and Mac and it was fixed with the release of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. It was not the vulnerability that was exploited to break into the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, which remains under wraps. Apple says 80 percent of iPhones run a safe version of iOS and are not vulnerable to the security flaw shared by the FBI. Apple told Reuters it does not have plans to issue a patch for the older, vulnerable software. According to Reuters, the FBI was motivated to provide Apple with information on an older vulnerability following a report suggesting it would not use the Vulnerability Equities Process to provide Apple with the method used to hack the San Bernardino iPhone.The day after that report, the FBI offered information about the older vulnerabilities to Apple. The move may have been an effort to show that it can and does use the White House process and disclose hacking methods when it can. The flaw the FBI disclosed to Apple this month did nothing to change the company's perception

FBI Plans to Keep iPhone Hacking Method Secret [Update: Confirmed]

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation will keep the method that it used to hack into the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook a secret, reports The Wall Street Journal. Citing sources with knowledge of the FBI's plans, the report suggests the FBI will tell the White House that an internal government review does not make sense because it "knows so little" about the hacking tool that was employed. A government review under the U.S. Vulnerabilities Equities Process, which allows federal agencies to determine whether or not critical security flaws should be shared with companies, would potentially lead to an order to disclose the security vulnerability to Apple. Without a review, Apple may not find out how the iPhone was breached. The decision, and the technical and bureaucratic justification behind it, would likely keep Apple in the dark about whatever security gap exists on certain models of the company's phones, according to people familiar with the discussions.The Wall Street Journal's report comes following a statement made by FBI Director James Comey at a cybersecurity event in Washington D.C., which was shared by Reuters. According to Comey, the FBI is still in the process of determining whether or not a government review should move forward."We are in the midst of trying to sort that out," Comey said. "The threshold (for disclosure) is, are we aware of the vulnerability, or did we just buy a tool and don't have sufficient knowledge of the vulnerability to implicate the process?" "We are close to a resolution," he added at a

U.S. Drops New York Case Against Apple After Unlocking iPhone Without Assistance

The U.S. Justice Department dropped its fight to get Apple to help it unlock an iPhone in a New York drug case after someone provided the device's passcode to authorities. In a letter to the judge, obtained by BuzzFeed News, prosecutors explained they no longer needed Apple's assistance. The government respectfully submits this letter to update the Court and the parties. Yesterday evening, an individual provided the passcode to the iPhone at issue in this case. Late last night, the government used that passcode by hand and gained access to the iPhone. Accordingly, the government no longer needs Apple's assistance to unlock the iPhone, and withdraws its application.In a statement, also procured by BuzzFeed News, Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce said the case was never about setting a precedent, but instead about law enforcement's "ability and need to access evidence on devices pursuant to lawful court orders and search warrants." Pierce said that now that they have access to the data they wanted they no longer need any help. Last week, Apple filed a refusal to help the Department of Justice unlock the phone at the center of the New York case, claiming that the government had not yet exhausted all other means of getting the data. Apple argued that the government should have provided evidence it exhausted all other options before asking Apple for help. Additionally, Apple said the FBI did not adequately demonstrate that the method it used to unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's iPhone would not work on the iPhone in the New York case. In late

FBI Paid Upwards of $1.3 Million to Unlock San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

United States Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James Comey today gave some hints on how much the agency paid to access the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, suggesting a sum upwards of $1.3 million. According to Reuters, Comey said the FBI paid an amount exceeding what he will make in the next seven years and four months as director of the FBI. Comey's annual salary is at $183,300, and without raises or bonuses, will result in earnings of $1.34 million. Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in London, Comey was asked by a moderator how much the FBI paid for the software that eventually broke into the iPhone. "A lot. More than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months for sure," Comey said. "But it was, in my view, worth it."According to anonymous law enforcement officials, Farook's iPhone did not contain contacts or messages resulting in new leads in the investigation, but it did clarify that Farook did not make contact with a third-party following the attack, suggesting he and his wife did not have assistance from friends or family members. The FBI reportedly paid the sum in question to "professional hackers," at least one of which is a "gray hat" researcher that sells security flaws to governments, black market groups, and companies creating surveillance tools. The method used to gain entry to the iPhone 5c owned by Farook does not work on the iPhone 5s or newer, but the FBI can continue to use it to access iPhone 5c devices running iOS 9. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion

Apple Backs Open Letter to Senators Criticizing Draft Encryption Bill

An open letter expressing "deep concerns" about a U.S. draft encryption bill that would force smartphone makers to decrypt data at the behest of the government was published yesterday, signed by four coalitions representing Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and other major tech companies. The letter is addressed to the bill's sponsors, Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, and warns of the legislation's "unintended consequences", calling its requirements of technology companies "well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable" (via The Verge). Any mandatory decryption requirement, such as that included in the discussion draft of the bill that you authored, will to lead to unintended consequences. The effect of such a requirement will force companies to prioritize government access over other considerations, including digital security. As a result, when designing products or services, technology companies could be forced to make decisions that would create opportunities for exploitation by bad actors seeking to harm our customers and whom we all want to stop. The bill would force those providing digital communication and storage to ensure that digital data can be obtained in "intelligible" form by the government, pursuant to a court order. This mandate would mean that when a company or user has decided to use some encryption technologies, those technologies will have to be built to allow some third party to potentially have access. This access could, in turn, be exploited by bad actors. It is also important to remember that such a technological mandate fails

iPhone Hack Answered Questions About San Bernardino Attack But Generated No New Leads

Breaking into the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook yielded no new leads in the FBI's investigation, but it did help answer remaining questions about the attack, reports CNN. According to anonymous U.S. law enforcement officials, the iPhone did not contain encrypted messages or evidence of communications with other unknown ISIS supporters, but it did confirm the shooters did not have outside help as there was no evidence Farook made contact with a third-party during an 18-minute timeline gap. The FBI has also concluded there was data on the phone it did not have access to previously, an unsurprising find because the iPhone was in use for several weeks after the last iCloud backup. Apple was able to provide data from iCloud backups to the FBI, but the FBI pursued the iPhone unlocking because there was no way to know if there was additional information on the phone without breaching it.Investigators are now more confident that terrorist Syed Farook didn't make contact with another plotter during an 18-minute gap that the FBI said was missing from their time line of the attackers' whereabouts after the mass shooting, the officials said. The phone has helped investigators address lingering concern that the two may have help, perhaps from friends and family, the officials said. The phone didn't contain evidence of contacts with other ISIS supporters or the use of encrypted communications during the period the FBI was concerned about. The FBI views that information as valuable to the probe, possibilities it couldn't discount without getting into the phone,

Senior Apple Engineers Say Hackers Are Main iPhone Security Threat, Not Government

Apple may be embroiled in an ongoing battle with the U.S. government over privacy rights and the boundaries of encryption, but in a meeting with reporters (via TechCrunch), Apple security engineers said the government is not the threat they aim to counter when implementing new security features for iOS devices.Senior Apple engineers feel that government intrusion is not their primary threat model when designing iPhone security and said they instead prefer to focus on fending off hackers. The engineers also characterized Apple's pushback against the FBI as motivated not by a desire to impede a terrorism investigation, but rather to defend its ability to protect users against non-governmental threats.Hackers, not the government, are what Apple aims to counter by beefing up security, and Apple engineers don't want to be "viewed as government adversaries." With every iOS update, hackers, some malicious and some not, make an effort to discover previously unknown security flaws able to be exploited to gain access to iOS devices. Apple has to continually work to eliminate vulnerabilities and improve security in never-ending race. In the call, TechCrunch says Apple engineers explained features in its Security White Paper [PDF] to reporters in an effort to emphasize the work that goes into protecting data, highlighting features like the Secure Enclave, Touch ID, two-factor authentication, and end-to-end encryption in iMessage. Built into devices utilizing an A7 or later, the Secure Enclave, which maintains encryption keys directly on the chip, is a separate chip with its

Apple Fights Government Demand to Unlock iPhone in New York Drug Case

Following the U.S. Department of Justice's decision to dismiss its lawsuit against Apple after it managed to access the iPhone 5c of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, the agency announced its intention to continue on with a similar New York lawsuit where it is attempting to get Apple's help to breach an iPhone 5s used in a drug case. In a filing this afternoon, Apple again refused to help the DOJ gain access to the device in question and asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming the government has not proven that it has exhausted all other means of getting the data. There are specific references made to the San Bernardino case, where the FBI did manage to find another way into the iPhone without involving Apple. Via The Wall Street Journal:"The government has utterly failed to demonstrate that the requested order is necessary to effectuate the search warrant, including that it exhausted all other avenues for recovering the information it seeks,'' Apple argued in the new filing to U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie. "Before the government demands that Apple do the work of law enforcement, the government must offer evidence that it has performed an 'exhaustive search' and that it remains unable to obtain the data it seeks without Apple's assistance.''According to Apple, the FBI has not adequately demonstrated that the method it used to gain access to the iPhone 5c used by Syed Farook does not work on the Brooklyn iPhone 5s. Apple also argues the FBI has not proven it has consulted with the third party that helped with the San Bernardino iPhone or other third

FBI Has Found 'Nothing of Real Significance' Inside the San Bernardino iPhone Yet

Although the method of the FBI's entry into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone has been the source of many rumors, a new report from CBS News states that at this point in the process, "nothing of real significance" has been discovered within the device. After weeks of back-and-forth between Apple and the FBI, over the possible moral repercussions that a "GovtOS" would have on iPhone users' privacy, the Justice Department officially dropped its lawsuit against Apple in late March. In the court-filed motion to vacate the order for Apple's help, the FBI stated it had discovered its own process of entry into the password-protected iPhone. Rumors initially suggested the FBI was helped by Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite, but more recent reports pointed to the bureau's hiring of professional hackers to help crack the smartphone. Much of the discussion surrounding the case has centered around the method the FBI used to unlock the iPhone 5c in question, but a report from yesterday confirmed that the bureau has no legal ground to reveal the exploit to anyone, including Apple. The unidentified group assisting the FBI has sole legal ownership of the method in which it used to enter the device, which could not be divulged without their cooperation with the FBI. A few sources within the government even stated that the FBI might not know the details of the exploit, only that it has worked. According to the new report from CBS News, those close to the investigation have stressed that the FBI is continuing to analyze the data coming out of the iPhone 5c in the

FBI Can't Reveal Exploit Used to Unlock San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

The unidentified group that assisted the FBI in unlocking the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone has sole legal ownership of the exploit, making it highly unlikely to be shared with Apple, U.S. administration sources have revealed. According to a report published by Reuters yesterday, the White House routinely reviews technology security flaws as part of its Vulnerabilities Equities Process to decide which ones should be made public, but it does not reveal flaws discovered or owned by private organizations without their explicit cooperation. Initial rumors had suggested the FBI received assistance from Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite to hack the phone, but more recent information suggests the group involved consisted of "professional hackers" who sell flaws to governments, black market groups, or companies that create surveillance tools. The FBI itself likely does not know the details of the technique, only simply that it worked, according to government sources and Rob Knake, who managed the Vulnerabilities Equities Process before leaving the White House last year. The news is being seen as a blow to Apple, which has sought information regarding the exploit used by the FBI to unlock suspected terrorist Syed Farook's iPhone in the hope of fixing it before it can be used by criminals. Previously FBI director James Comey had said the government was contemplating the pros and cons of looping Apple in on the situation. In a separate report published by CBS News yesterday, a law enforcement source revealed that the data successfully extracted from

FBI Used Security Flaw Found by 'Professional Hackers' to Crack San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

Rumors have suggested the FBI employed Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite to hack into the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, but new information from The Washington Post suggests it was instead done with the help of "professional hackers" at least one of which is a "gray hat" researcher that sells flaws to governments, black market groups, or companies that create surveillance tools. According to sources who spoke to The Washington Post, the hackers told the FBI about a previously unknown software flaw, which was used to "create a piece of hardware" the FBI used to access the phone via its passcode. The hardware in question allowed the FBI to guess the passcode through multiple attempts without erasing the iPhone. The new information was then used to create a piece of hardware that helped the FBI to crack the iPhone's four-digit personal identification number without triggering a security feature that would have erased all the data, the individuals said. The researchers, who typically keep a low profile, specialize in hunting for vulnerabilities in software and then in some cases selling them to the U.S. government. They were paid a one-time flat fee for the solution.The method the FBI allegedly used to break into the iPhone is similar in description to the tool that it had requested from Apple. Before finding an alternate way into the iPhone, the FBI had demanded Apple create a new version of iOS that would disable the passcode security features built into the operating system. Apple was ordered to give the FBI software to disable the

Senate Draft Encryption Bill Called 'Absurd,' 'Dangerous,' and Technically Inept

A draft of an encryption bill created by Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein was released last night, revealing the scope of the legislation that would require technology companies to decrypt data and share it in an "intelligible format" when served with a legal order. The Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, a copy of which was shared by Re/code, starts out by declaring "no person or entity is above the law." It says that all providers of communication services and products, from hardware to software, must both protect the privacy of residents of the United States through "implementation of appropriate data security," while still respecting the "rule of law" and complying with legal requirements and court orders to provide information stored either on devices or remotely. To uphold both the rule of law and protect the interests and security of the United States, all persons receiving an authorized judicial order for information or data must provide, in a timely manner, responsive, intelligible information or data, or appropriate technical assistance to obtain such information.In acknowledgement of the disagreement between the FBI and Apple, the legislation does include a clause that prevents it from authorizing "any government officer to require or prohibit any specific design or operating system to be adopted by any covered entity," and it shies away from specific technical demands, but the wording of the act itself, with no contingencies for inaccessible data, makes end-to-end encryption impossible. Any data encrypted by