Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday 18 February 2016

Murdoch Press Advocates Phone Hacking

After the scandal of Phonehackgate, which resulted in the closure of the Screws and jailing of one of its former editors, it might have been thought that the last thing the Murdoch empire would want to do would be to tell its readers that phone hacking was A Very Good Thing. But that thought would have been misplaced, as the Sun has effectively told tech giant Apple that the iPhone should be made easier to break into.
This follows the multiple shooting in San Bernardino, CA, recently where the law enforcement authorities found one of the perpetrators’ work phones and realised it could not be unlocked without the passcode. Worse, it was running the latest version of operating system iOS - meaning all the data on the phone, the main reason for getting in to it, would be erased after ten unsuccessful passcode attempts.

As the Mail has told, though, “Apple has refused a federal order to hack into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, claiming it would undermine encryption by creating a backdoor that could potentially be used on other future devices … CEO Tim Cook's ferocious response, posted early Wednesday on the company's website, came after an order from U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym that Apple Inc. help the Obama administration break into the encrypted phone”.

Cook showed why this was A Very Big Deal Indeed: “In the wrong hands, this software - which does not exist today - would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone's physical possession … The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a back door … And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control”.

You can’t just “unlock” an iPhone running the latest version of iOS. It’s not possible. That is what makes it a secure repository for a user’s information, gives those users confidence that their personal data is safe and isn’t going to be subject to eavesdropping, misuse, theft, blackmail, or worse. It means you cannot hack an iPhone.

So what does the Murdoch Sun have to say about that? As if you need to ask: under the headline “Rotten, Apple”, an editorial rantsWHEN will Apple stop whining and do its bit to prevent innocent people being ­massacred by terrorists? Its refusal to help the FBI unlock a jihadist killer’s iPhone is a disgrace ­typical of US web giants”. And there’s more.

[Apple] complains that such software ‘in the wrong hands’ could unlock all iPhones and compromise customers’ privacy and security. The answer, then, is not to let it get in the wrong hands”. Yeah, right: the Murdoch empire has been doing business with successive US Governments ever since Rupe met Ronnie all those years ago.

No wonder the Murdoch mafia wants Apple to give the Federal authorities the means to crack iPhone security: they would be that closer to getting hold of it themselves. No, Rupe wasn’t really sorry about all those hacking victims. He was only sorry his minions got caught. Apple needs no lessons in digital security from the Murdoch empire.


rob said...

I don't suppose GCHQ are that pleased either. Just think, those rotten lefties might just get into power again and how would they be able to monitor their phones? With or without the assistance of future incarnations of NOTW.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rupe,

As soon as FBI give the "back donor" to the Met, you will have a beta copy!

Say Hi Jerry for me. Xxxxx

Berni H-H and your mates at Southern Investigations

Mic Stand said...

This case is not really about cracking the government-provided iphone which the killer used for his work, The FBI already has all the information it needs from that iphone that would be of any practical use in the investigation (call logs, contacts, browsing history, chats, previous backups, corporate device management etc). In fact it's about establishing a useful precedent.

The killer had three mobile devices: two of them he completely destroyed and any information once there is completely gone. The iPhone is a work-provided phone, and the employer is the government. He didn't bother to destroy that one - the one he had the work emails and work conversations and work contacts. It's obvious from this that the FBI expects to get nothing of particular interest from the iPhone; they expect to use this emotionally-charged case to get everyone to agree that Apple should be forced (a) to write a version of iOS 9 which contains a back-door, and (b) to force Apple to digitally sign it so that is can be put on the phone.

Once they've done that, they've established the precedent that they can force Apple to do the same for any/all existing newer devices, and, crucially, to do the same for the next-generation of devices

Anonymous said...

It could also be a case of which country the cell/mobile phone crossed.
If someone makes a call from USA to England and it bounces off English masts or towers, does that give the right for English authorities to intercept/monitor?
I think it could.

This will be a concern to be debated for the future.

Mic Stand said...

@Anon 22:16, that's already the case, though that's completely irrelevant here. You're talking about the sort of transatlantic cellphone call that's been open to grey-area metadata analysis (bulk surveillance) for years (cf Snowden) and for legally warranted full interception when there is evidence.

But stick to the topic: FBI forcing Apple to write phone-cracking software it doesn't want to write, and to sign and install phone-cracking software it doesn't want to install. The link to Murdoch-style phone hacking and dark arts surveillance by dodgy journos is tenuous but it is a logical extension of what could go wrong, so tell us what you think about that.

Anonymous said...

To expect Apple to write the code and sign it etc... I can't see how they would accept. Too much to ask.

However, if the phone belonged to a child then the law can intercept.

Just like it can access medical records without consent.

I believe the higher powers or intelligence already have info from intercepts not known.
It is how they use it that can be called in to question.

For instance;

They may have intercepted a phone convo (outside of the law) they have that info in their possession. They, then, initiate a conversation and use tactics to tease information from the unsuspecting victim. They then use this as the source for evidence or knowledge.

Another example: Mi5 head says Murdoch staff spied on me, this would give intelligence the licence to monitor the offices of the news organisation. Most definitely.If they ignored it then questions must be asked. Whilst they listen there they will no doubt pick up on what other news agencies are doing.

PS I have no inside knowledge on this, I use the 3 i's.


Blabbermouths are the traitors.

You are welcome.

Mic Stand said...

@Aninymous: you've obviously got your own soapbox issues, so go ahead. You could first educate yourself on this one with this accurate WaPo article. That's all, I'm backing away slowly now.

Anonymous said...

You asked me to answer.
Do you work in journalism?
That'll explain it.

Don't worry, it won't just affect journalists. The whistleblowers will be caught in the wire too.

Here is a tip: ' Live your life like somebody is watching because the chances are, they are'.