[T]he Government has ... violated the trust of the American people [and] broken
the law themselves by already conducting wholesale surveillance of the citizenry
Thus, the number one issue, the issue that should preempt all other issues,
is how the government regains it's credibility and re-establishes trust.
Except this isn't an isolated situation. The government has been fighting against the free use of encryption for decades. Saying the order given to Apple is limited to this single case is practically admitting ignorance (willful or not) about:
* The investigation of Phil Zimmermann and the export of PGP as a a "munition"
* Bernstein v. United States
* The Clipper Chip (Skipjack) and other key escrow systems of the fist crypto war
* "Total Information Awareness" (w/ John Poindexter of the Iran–Contra affair)
* The beam splitter in room 641A of AT&T's facility at 611 Folsom St.
* The illegalities brought to light by Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Thomas Drake, Edward Snowden, and other patriots that kept their oath to defend the constitution.
* How many public security standards were ruined as part of BULLRUN and related programs.
* The recently-discovered use of "Stingray" devices ("IMSI-catchers") by the FBI.
* (I'll just stop the here - there are many other examples that should be included)
These actions clearly show a pattern of trying to gain backdoor access or other surveillance capabilities. Yet some people suggest - usually without any evidence - that the government should be trusted. What, specifically, has the government been doing in the area of communication security that has justified any amount of trust? Actions are more important than promises.
It would be nice if this wasn't such an adversarial relationship. Unfortunately, this cold civil war we are in where the government treating everyone as a potential criminal by default doesn't leave us with a lot of options. Until we see real actions that regain some amount of the public's trust, the rational approach has to be to not trust the government at all. To do otherwise is either ignorance of history or blind faith that the government never lies.
Nobody (except the most unreasonable) has any problem with the FBI searching property when they have a legal warrant. That's what is happening here. It's the equivalent of asking a manager to open a storage unit. This specific case is not anything like any of the examples you gave.
The FBI could have filed for Apple to get them the data by brute forcing the pin code. They didn't ask for that, they asked for Apple to make a tool that could be used by the FBI to brute force the pin code themselves. This is a huge difference when you are talking about the legal system.
Jonathan A. Zdziarski, who has a little bit of experience with forensic tools and expert testimony, has written a post about this specific issue: http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=5645
In the end, forcing Apple to build a tool to be used at trial, it would end up forcing them to release the code to many different people for 3rd party verification that the tool works properly for forensic purposes.
This lawsuit (using a law from the late 1700's, remember we became a country in 1776) is completely political and absolutely has nothing to do with getting into this specific device. It is about forcing a legal precedent and to force Apple into doing something they want without going through Congress.
You are still trusting that the legally compelled access is all good and valid, ignoring rubber stamping by courts. Allowing access to this phone due to a court order, when combined with a history of abuse by the courts, is as good as any other skeleton key.
Rubber stamping is a separate issue. If that's what people were worried about, why would it be this case in particular getting everyones hackles raised? Every warrant to search a house or a car should be questioned, but this case isn't special.
They do need a warrant for any information to not get laughed out a US court though. This is the main reason they are going after the data this way, because they want what they found and know wouldn't survive discovery to eventually be admissible as legally obtained evidence. That and it will set a nice precedent for them to deputize private persons and corporation into being law enforcement when they just can't be asked to not fuck up one simple thing.
This is also not-coincidently a case likely to polarize people against Apple with the old faithful terrorists are coming to get you rhetoric. A most slippery slope indeed, nearly guaranteeing that everyone who is supposed to be checking the executive branch for overreach will just go along with them wholesale.
That doesn't prevent them from acting upon information received from Apple outside of the court system.
There is a reason parallel construction is a thing.
You're trusting the government to not acquire the signing key from Apple.
> The government absolutely should not be trusted.
You're contradicting yourself.
> So are you.
No I'm not. The keys will be acquired when necessary, if they haven't already.
> If they had the signing key they wouldn't need to ask Apple for anything.
That would be true if the goal was to gather forensic data from a single phone. As I stated above, it's foolish to look at this situation in isolation. The FBI's (and other government agencies) history of trying to restrict encryption and gain access to communication technologies says the government has other goals.
You might have noticed that there has been a propaganda campaign going for a while now that has been framing encryption as a "terrorist tool" that is causing law enforcement's investigations to "go dark". The goal isn't the phone; this is about framing Apple (and Silicon Valley in general) as impediments to public safety.
No, you appear to be purposely taking my words out of context.
I said the government should not be trusted with a carte blanch skeleton key to access any phone.
Then you said I'm trusting the government not to get access to Apple's signing keys. Which of course I trust, and which you do too. If the government could get Apple's keys, they could just make their own firmware change, sign it, and install it on any phone they want. They wouldn't need this case.
> No I'm not. The keys will be acquired when necessary, if they haven't already.
Now that is some tin foil hattery. That would be reason for outcry. It's a big leap from where we are now.
If this case sets a precedent in either direction (pro or anti privacy), then the battle is already lost because nobody understands what's going on. This is in no way the same as the government circumventing privacy. If people don't understand that, then they're not going to understand a more principled argument of a company impeding a perfectly legal request to get access to the data on a phone.
Is your problem that you don't like the ability of the government to get and execute a search warrant against a person? You don't think they should be able to? If they can search your property, and they can demand for example that your landlord grant physical access, then I see no problem with this request. The responsibility is Apple's to make it so the phone can't be unlocked by Apple.
Purposely? You didn't provide much context. Apparently you include some large exceptions whee you do trust the government.
> you do too.
I've already told you I don't, because the government has a pattern of behavior that suggests otherwise. What is the basis for your trust that they wouldn't go after Apple's signing key? (or any other key)
Did you forget that the government forced Lavabit to turn over their private key?
> they could make their own firmware change
I've already addressed that, but I'll add that they could still take that route in the future.
> Now that is some tin foil hattery
Insults like that do not help your argument.
> It's a big leap from where we are now.
Perhaps. I don't think it's a very big leap at all to suggest that the government might repeat tactics they've used in the past.
> Is your problem that you don't like the ability of the government to get and execute a search warrant against a person?
Of course not, that's stupid. I have no problem with most warrants. I do have a problem with the general warrants being used by the FISA court, which were the reason we have the 4th Amendment.
> they can demand for example that your landlord grant physical access,
That's correct. However, this case isn't about Apple simply granting access to some of the property they own.
> make it so the phone can't be unlocked by Apple.
In the future, that would be a good solution (zero-knowledge techniques are always a good idea.
Trivial to whom? Apple certainly does not view the act of complying with this order as trivial.
They have also tried using Paris attacks to justify backdoors and surveillance telling us they would have been able to stop it if there was no encryption. Now those who hears it will support spying without knowing that Paris attackers didn't actually use encryption to his their communication. And NSA still didn't get a clue and warn them. Paris is not even their responsibility anyway. They have French govt to take care of their affairs. Those massive amount of tax dollars and resources can either be used to make a better world or to make an orwellian world. What's it going to be people? It depends on you.
The government doesn't have our trust because the government does not deserve our trust.