[cryptome] Cellebrite and USG eat an Apple on Vacation: Or: The Sound of Silence

  • From: "douglas rankine" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "douglasrankine2001" for DMARC)
  • To: cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2016 15:12:26 +0100

Dear Colleagues,
I go away on vacation, hoping to miss the main event...and what happens? All the important parties go on vacation too...What happened...? Even cryptome @freelists went quiet with the Sound of Silence, with John Young the only contributor.

The latest before I left was that the USG was taking an extremely hard line in its last submission on the court case. No holds barred, no compromises, the USG wanted access no matter what the cost...in fact they had quite a fetish about it...;-) . They will take it all the way to the Supreme Court; the best legal and political arguments that the executive, the administration, security services and law enforcement could muster or dream up were put in their submission to the court. An interesting read...if only because it is a pointer to any future court cases in the area of security, privacy and end to end encryption between the state and individuals. All that case law, all that thinking, all that marshalling of resources to force Apple to provide a legitimate way to enter and end their absolute end to end encryption.

So, why the vacation...and remember, that the USG can always raise the issue again with Apple or any other company. As the renowned world non-expert in such matters, apart from a Masters Degree in the Invention of Silly Ideas, I but merely venture a few non sequiturs...Is it to do with new developments in chromatography, or with the sensitivity of oersted discovery, or new nanomaterials of storage mediums or finely tuned nano-metric forensic software mapping the internal structures of the Apple phone, as did IBM with its scanning tunnelling microscope and the depositing of the letters IBM on a piece of "grey goo" which won its inventor a Nobel Prize? Or could it be one of those highly sensitive MRI machines which map the pulses and their positions of the human body and brain as it thinks and works; allowing copies of the electronic gubbins, neural networks emitting emps, chemical changes in response to electric forces, to be made so that access security codes can be brute forced, which has been adapted to inanimate objects like plastic Apples...or is it the FBI and the NSA wisely getting together and many great meetings of minds taking place to overcome the problem by other...surreptitious means, which may or may not be legal...and which may...or may not be viable, so leaving Apple and their fanbois fetishists with the disadvantage that they will never know whether its end to end encryption can be cracked or not, and whether their private information will forever remain safe and secure. Modern science fiction is so behind what is happening in the real world these days, in my view. In my day, H.G. Wells and John Wyndham, Aldus Huxley and C. S. Lewis, George Orwell and Gene Roddenberry and Alan Dean Foster, were at the forefront of how the world was developing and where it was going...:-) . Nowadays, it is mostly pap, Hollywood is finally running out of ideas and a vivid imagination, the focus is moving elsewhere...in my view...:-P .
see url: http://bestsciencefictionbooks.com/best-classic-science-fiction-books.php

It is as well to remember that eyes and ears and minds were focussed all over the world on this case. An awful lot of discussion has been going on, and a lot of stuff which was not in the public domain, or in the public domain but not much publicised was coming to the fore. Even here in the UK concerns have been expressed by many people on the depth of mass intrusion and absolvement of the security services and law enforcement for encroaching and even damaging the peoples "internet of things", from driverless cars, to automated medical procedures, to controlling central heating systems, to introducing malware legally into all sorts of digital machines and toys in the name of protecting the masses from the criminals and terrorists. Concerns have been expressed by both enemies and friends of the US, and senses focused on the strengths and weaknesses through the use of open source materials which have been published as part of the court documents. The media has known no bounds in its publishing of all sorts of scares, scams and wild stories about computer security and those who market them. It has also been very good though, at circulating stuff which is of high scientific, education and cultural interest, so bringing it to the attention of a wider audience.

The extent and depth of the surveillance for one thing has come to the forefront of popular intelligence, the weaknesses and strengths of public encryption systems, the continuing degradation of individual rights of privacy at the expense of increasing the power of state surveillance. The determination of the executive and law enforcement to leave no stone unturned in getting access to cell phones, by hook or by crook, by legal or illegal means has been further exposed and highlighted, the necessity of catching crypto-aware, security aware criminals and terrorists by surveillance, monitoring and cracking their systems, at the expense of individual rights of protection of security, privacy and confidentiality in conducting ordinary, every day legal business, whether it be family on Facebook or with ones bank, or using ones car or transport services. The catching out of the myths of those in the security industry who market the mantra of absolutely end to end encryption being uncrackable and available to the general public. The public exposure of government organisations who have lost huge amounts of private and secure data and information, the incompetence of some of the highest officials, yet at the same time, those very officials who have attacked those whom they believe are their enemies, not because of concerns about the security of the peoples state, but because of their personal state.

To Cellebrite...the FBI may or may have not found a viable solution via an Israeli company which has copyright issues with some US companies over its forensic software having at least 10 ways of getting into various cell phones such as Blackberry (once the favourite of company executives and high administrative officials) and earlier editions of Apple iPhones, and Samsung phones by using back doors or bugs in booting systems... The information which the FBI has gleaned from Farooks phone, as yet, is unavailable as are the alleged methods or abilities to do so.

The world, as Dickens and Oscar Wilde have both said, is just full of useless information, even more so today with the plethora of I.T. storage and communications systems. Yet out of all that crap that has been published in the case between USG v Apple, a lot of valuable lessons have been learned in my view, some short term, some in the medium term and some in the longer term, and different groupings coming to the ball have had much to take away, and much to gain, whilst those of us who watch...well...that's all part of the learning process and stuff which might appear to be quite useless today, could become quite valuable tomorrow...;-) .

Perhaps if we looked more at strategies for peaceful co-existence and done something about the causes of international and national terrorism and how to prevent it, even if we just developed a dialogue with our "enemies" as well as our friends, we might just get a more fruitful outcome rather than keeping on the road our states are going down now....but, there again...pigs might fly.

P.S. Has Mr. Trump been elected as the next President yet...

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