Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Apple Takes a Stand for Our Privacy Rights

In his Feb 16th 2016 letter, A Message to Our Customers, Tim Cook CEO of Apple takes a stand against the FBI and warns us all about the threat to our personal security.

I applaud Tim Cook and Apple for standing up against the tyranny of the FBI, who’s trying to go back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover.  No, farther than that - the Nazi's.  These are Hitler tactics that bring upon us an Orwellian world.

It's not that I'm not expecting that it's going to soon come to that — it is.  But to have a conglomerate as big and as important as Apple stand up and say no more, is refreshing.  Again, I'm not one of those patriot types, not that there's anything wrong with that, (what gets wrong in that area is the nuts that get involved in it and tip the scales).  I don't listen to or support those guys.  I do however support Apple in its products, its philosophy, and its decision to protect peoples rights.

The problem with this issue has now become the spin that it is taking.  Many are making Apple say something that they did not say.  It’s what the FBI wants them TO DO, not what they have done to help the FBI that is the issue.

So many comments by uninformed, speculating people doesn’t help clear the issue either.  I am a programmer, coder, hacker (not cracker), whatever, so I understand what is at stake here and the ridiculousness of the justification.  That our security depends upon our insecurity — that’s insane.  If this ever gets to where the government has this control and has a back-door to our phones, then the very people they demanded they have it for — the ‘terrorists’, will be using something else to get their deeds done.

Having a back-door into iOS is inviting crackers (as most wrongly call them - hackers) to do unimaginable damage that Apple will have to try constantly to patch, like Windows has to.  Perhaps the only safe way around this is for Apple to go the Open Source route, like Linux, and make their iOS completely Open Source so that all it’s ins and outs are known.  While this may sound worse, what it does, and has done for Linux, is make the Operating System (OS) more secure against attacks because programmers know any possible back-doors and can fix them.  The opposite of this is best seen in Windows where only Microsoft knows its code.  So when a cracker exploits a hole in Windows code they have to patch it.  If they had the world of programmers looking at the code, like Linux does, then us good hackers could find the problems first and fix them.

I am reminded of the 2012 case against TrueCrypt where the FBI was unable to get past TrueCrypt's encryption.  “The court then ruled that Doe's Fifth Amendment right to remain silent legally prevented the Government from making him or her do so.”  TrueCrypt was shut down on the guise that it was, “not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues” and users were instructed to move to Microsoft's BitLocker.  One has to wonder if Microsoft's BitLocker is favored and not targeted by the FBI because they already have a back-door in BitLocker?

The forgotten issue.  There’s nothing saying that there is actually any useful information on this iPhone the FBI demands to get into.  By this time there’s no information on that phone that the leads have not been burned by the terrorists.  The FBI, and other agencies, would be better served by employing some crackers rather than looking for Apple and corporate business to do their work for them.  I don’t hear the CIA asking for this kind of technology…

Back to the issue at hand.  It’s not like you can’t jailbreak an iPhone today and bypass any of this ’spyware’.  So the tech is already out there, and used, that can thwart what the FBI is trying to mandate.  Again, it’s only going to be the ‘safe’ citizens that are getting spied on.  The old adage goes that, If you’ve got nothing to hide then what does it matter?  While that may be true — as long as you can trust who’s doing the spying.  Can you?  After all, that’s how George Orwell’s word got into being.  It’s all for your protection Winston.  (I'm wondering who the real terrorists are here...)

As My Cook said, "understand what is at stake".

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