back to article FBI iPhone brouhaha sparks Apple Store protest in San Francisco

After Tim Cook gave the FBI the finger when asked to help unlock a mass murderer's iPhone, fanbois are planning to hold rallies outside Apple stores to support the iGiant. The string of demonstrations will kick off on February 23 across the US, it's hoped. This comes after the Feds won a court order demanding Apple assist …

  1. MrDamage

    Jihadists will be celebrating

    They won't have to kill a bunch of innocents to get their 72 virgins. Judging by the pics provided, they just have to rock up to the local iStore.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Jihadists will be celebrating

      Jihadists will be wondering what the fuss is about, seeing as they all use Nokia 3310's and take the battery out of them and put the phone under a rock before going to their meeting place.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: Jihadists will be celebrating

        I thought they swallowed the SIM card, as shown in the documentary "Four Lions"...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Jihadists will be celebrating

        Jihadists will have to go to no such trouble, as hiding their phones under a rock, as they are all mercenaries hired by the CIA, they can execute their false flag attacks with impunity.

        Jihadists are a figment of the media, strategically placed in your mind as a constant fear generator to make you easier to control and willing to give up your civil rights.

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: Jihadists will be celebrating

      "Instead, it's being asked to infect Farook's iPhone 5C with a custom firmware that will allow the Feds to guess his passcode using a brute-force process without the device wiping itself after too many wrong login attempts."

      Forcing someone to perform work without compensation is slavery, slave.

      1. MrDamage

        Re: Jihadists will be celebrating

        >> Forcing someone to perform work without compensation is slavery, slave.

        Nowhere does it say that Apple will be forced to do this for free. Perhaps if you had perused the links in the various articles El Reg have written about this situation, you would have learnt that the Judge's order mentions that Apple will be compensated for their work.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Great way to get on the Globalist's list of "dissidents"...

      ...and get hauled off, at the earliest feasable time, to a FEMA camp for quick "processing" into those elongated black boxes stacked there by the thousands (along with anybody with an IQ over 80).

  2. Michael Thibault

    The Bureau isn't asking for a back door

    per se.

    But it is asking for a back door to a back door. The court order seems to be about having Apple do certain things it would not otherwise do, or even have reason to do. That such a request would be made (and I know it isn't a polite request) is disturbing. Apple's compliance--if, ultimately, any--with the specifics of the court order would set a precedent of compulsion of manufacturers, such as Apple, that is no less odious that compelling them to install a back door, per se. And end-run around the rules, as it were.

    Screaming 'notional security' red-faced is poor justification for compelling a company to do your bidding, especially when their doing such a) may demonstrate the practical application of those acts in circumventing built-in security (and, also, yielding the sought-after data), but also b) will likely demonstrate that the power of compulsion can be brought to bear on even the most powerful/successful/visible corporate entity* ('pour encourager les autres'), regardless of what principles may be ground into dust in the process.

    Apple does have some room to manoeuvre, though. What, ultimately, is being sought is the information on the phone. Unfortunately, the difference between the information sought after (and, remember, not demonstrably extant) and access to the device presumed to contain it is being concealed in the smoke-and-mirrors of this order for Apple to reveal as much as the court order demands.

    * or, by extension, any person.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Bureau isn't asking for a back door

      So if I read your rant correctly, if any old mass murderer was killed in their activity and the police turned up with a search warrant at his shed, the landlord would be quite right to say, "I cannot help you enter his gaff even though he might have all sorts of crap held there"?

      What the rabid throngs do not appear to understand is that it is one specific phone from a known-to-be terrorist.

      So, as some sentient people thought, the iPhone is the terrorist's choice and Apple are the jihadist's friends.

      Unless of course it is all a giant game of bluff and counter bluff where publicly they say no, while secretly handing over the goods and thus protecting their terrorist market share and appearing to be the darling of Walter Mitty fantasists everywhere. 'Oh my data is so important I have to keep it on a pocket computer and take it everywhere.'

      If it is so darned important why put it on a fragile bit of battery sucking shiny anyway?

      1. J Bourne

        Re: The Bureau isn't asking for a back door

        " if any old mass murderer was killed in their activity and the police turned up with a search warrant at his shed, the landlord would be quite right to say, "I cannot help you enter his gaff even though he might have all sorts of crap held there"?"

        That is a very poor analogy - The landlord has a key for the shed in question (presumably), he's not being asked to make a skeleton key that could open any (everyone's) shed. In the analogy, even if the landlord didn't have key and precluding breaking in by force then just about any locksmith ('skilled in the art') would be able to unlock the shed for them (manufacturer assistance not required). Let's go one step further and assume this shed is secured with the most secure locke from acme locks. The police ask Acme locks to open it for them, they do so, it take 3 days - they haven't made any of their other locks of the same model any less secure than they were before.

        In the case of the court ordering Apple to come up with a software hack 'that will only assist in the unlocking of the phone in question' isn't possible. As soon as a solution is created in source code then changing it to open any phone is only a very small step away; opening the doors to further requests/orders from law enforcement/the courts - and the increased potential to leak that hack into the public domain.

        1. David 14

          Re: The Bureau isn't asking for a back door

          J Bourne - Unfortunately, you do not seem to understand the request or the technology.

          The request is for an old iPhone 5C model that does not have a hardware encryption, nor was it designed to be encrypted... rather that was added to the IOS of the iPhone by apple later. Second, the phone BELONGS to the Municipal government and was used by the dead killer..... there is no "privacy" issue here at all... none.

          Lastly - what Apple has been asked is provide a custom image for this single device that will disable the self-destruct and a couple of other features.... and these features will not be able to be used on other phones... simply put. The idea of this making Apple phones less secure is absolutely false, and untrue. Apple will be in 100% control of how able this new software will be to be used on other devices.... you see, the code simply has to have a startup check of the specific hardware... they can code the UUID, the SIM card data, and/or anything else they want in their custom software to ensure it can ONLY work on this single iPhone 5C and no other phone. The reason it works is the same reason that the FBI cannot simply do this work themselves... the FBI cannot digitally sign the new code to allow it to load on the hardware. (and Apple will be able to better write and more easily the code, of course, given their access to the actual source code and experienced program architecture, developers, etc.).

          The entire "it will let government spy on people" is just a straw argument used by Apple and is based on the ignorance of the public as part of a seeming PR campaign.

          Also remember, that Apple operates its head office in the USA for a reason... the US government is (relatively) non-corrupt, and law enforcement operates based on the rule of law. If Apple does not want to abide by US laws, they should leave.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Bureau isn't asking for a back door

        The landlord is in no way compelled to keep a key to the shed. Mine doesn't. Police want to search it, they need to open it themselves.

  3. James Loughner

    Idiots all

    Clone the phone test 10 passwords on a clone then do it again on another clone until you get the password. If the government can't do that what are we paying them for.

    Bunch of idiots

    1. Phil Kingston

      Re: Idiots all

      Or, just maybe, it's more complicated than that....

    2. Amorphous

      Re: Idiots all

      Can't clone phone since the encryption key is baked into hardware and can't be extracted.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Public service announcement

    No unicorns were harmed during the protest, nor was any whale song misused.

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So someone issued a call for a protest via FB and gave an incorrect reason? I'll just sit back, munch some popcorn and see what happens since it's not a backdoor as such but then the EFF is jumping into this fray also.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    I don't understand this

    "Helping the police with their not unreasonable enquiries" doesn't sound so bad for once?

  7. trance gemini


    it would be a different story if one of auntie tim's beloved chihuahuas (or whatever ipooch she keeps in her handbag) went 'missing' and the location was in an encrypted mirrorball ...

    so queen apple has no qualms about turning the deaths of 14 of her fellow americans into a global PR stunt

    what a disgusting place this poor planet has been turned into

    no wonder our neighbours don't talk to us anymore

    can we just hurry up with WW3 and get it over with

    "the human race has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down - please restart your civilisation" put that on a fucking t-shirt

    1. Mephistro

      Re: iBet

      "so queen apple has no qualms about turning the deaths of 14 of her fellow americans into a global PR stunt"

      That's just part of the picture. Another part is that the FBI has no qualms about using this sad, terrible crime to further their own agenda.

      To put it in perspective, the guy had three phones and he destroyed the other two. If there weren't any hidden FBI agendas, they would consider a certainty that the surviving phone -his work phone- survived because it was empty of any evidence.

  8. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Surely NSA reverse-emgineered the Apple firmware long ago?

    Can't they just copy the encrypted data onto a custom phone or emulator?

    1. Known Hero
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Surely NSA reverse-emgineered the Apple firmware long ago?

      Right so its fine if the NSA do it illegally, but if a legal request comes in then its a problem and "Fuck Da Police"?

      I am not so sure why people are so against (viewing all the downvotes above) a company allowing police to bypass the encryption especially when they have a court order specifically to do so. This isn't a remote backdoor to access your phone any time they like, this would be a forensic tool to recover evidence that requires a warrant to access.

      hell I couldn't care less if they left the tool with apple, actually would be preferable imo.

  9. quattroprorocked

    Hmmm, oddly reasonable

    The judge has required "reasonable" efforts for this ONE SPECIFIC phone.

    So the Feds won't get code that fits all phones, the feds won't ever see the code, they just get an unlocked phone.

    Which means that if Apple really don't want to open it they need to argue that the effort is unreasonable. Which boils down to cost. Which the FBI should pay.

    If I could be sure that this was the case, I'd be comfortable - high degrees of access for law and order are reasonable so long as it's difficult limited to specific low numbers of important cases. Not big hoovers that treat us all as suspects.

    But is it? Both sides talk too much shit to trust either of them at face value.

    1. theOtherJT

      Re: Hmmm, oddly reasonable

      The problem isn't so much that the request is obviously unreasonable in terms of the scope of the provided software, or the effort required on Apple's part to produce it. The problem was actually rather neatly summed up by representative Ted Lieu

      "This FBI court order, by compelling a private sector company to write new software, is essentially making that company an arm of law-enforcement, [] This court order also begs the question: Where does this kind of coercion stop? Can the government force Facebook to create software that provides analytic data on who is likely to be a criminal? Can the government force Google to provide the names of all people who searched for the term ISIL? Can the government force Amazon to write software that identifies who might be suspicious based on the books they ordered?"*

      Firstly: If the court has the authority to order Apple to create software, where does that authority stop? Without clearly defined bounds it looks remarkably like indentured servitude, and that's definitely not on.

      Secondly: If the court can give such an order on no stronger grounds than that Apple manufactured the device in the first place, that's tantamount to saying that Apple are legally responsible for providing access to the content of the device.

      The second one in particular is a very dangerous proposition. Is Google legally responsible for handing over the content of your gmail account? Should Microsoft be responsible for handing over the content of your sharepoint? It would seem that this court believes that they are, and that has very dangerous implications for both all future business operations that ever handle user data, and of course the privacy of end users.

      *Shamelessly stolen from this article.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm, oddly reasonable

      Except it's not a tool to backdoor one iphone.

      It's a tool to backdoor any iphone at any time so long as someone, maybe the FBI but also maybe ISIS or Putin, puts a little pressure on someone at apple.

      That's the problem.

      1. David 14

        Re: Hmmm, oddly reasonable

        Simply put - that is not true. Based on ignorance and fear mongering, and forgetting that the US courts DO HAVE JURISDICTION simple put... Apple is a US company, the phone belongs to a US Municipality, and the crime was carried out by a US citizen in a US city, and killed 14 US citizens.

        If Apple doesn't want to be under the jurisdiction of the US court system... maybe they should close up shop and move. Period.

        (For the record, I am Canadian - not American)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    don't these people

    have lives? Or jobs? Or... school to go to on this finy, wet, by the looks of it, morning?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: don't these people

      you must be new here...

      Didn't you know that Apple iDevice owners live in their own Universe where time started in 1970?

      Time runs a a different rate to use mere mortals.


    2. AndyS

      Re: don't these people


      > Protesters lined the windows of the Apple store at 5pm while two police officers stood nearby

      >don't these people have lives? Or jobs? Or... school to go to on this finy, wet, by the looks of it, morning?

      Obviously you didn't go to school either, or you'd have been able to read the article.

      Equally obviously, by your own standard, you also don't have anything currently worthwhile to do, as, at 10 am, you have no better occupation than to post on an internet news site.

      Alternatively, does it really stretch you so much to imagine that a handful of people who care deeply about an issue might be able to make themselves free at 5pm on week day?

    3. Bluto Nash

      Re: don't these people

      It was 5PM. You DO realize that it gets dark-ish twice a day, once on each end, right?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best option

    Hopefully Apple will comply, make a mistake and a software glitch will brick the phone anyway.

    Not like Apple never ships buggy software.

  12. partypop69

    It will never end...

    Today Apple should make a backdoor, tomorrow it'll be an Android phone, next week it'll be a Lenovo Laptop with HD Password, then maybe some Truecrypt encryption. What are they going to do? Keep askng companies to make backdoors? It will never happen because third party tools will become available to protect privacy.

    In today's day and age, things are going to be harder to uncover, just like in the days before we had fingerprints. If terrorists want their data encrypted, its going to be encrypted, nobody can stop that.

    Who is to say Farook's phone is not jailbroken and encrypted with some third party tools that even Apple cannot fix. Its endless.

    1. David 14

      Re: It will never end...

      First - this phone does not (and never did) belong to the dead killer.

      Second - this request is very reasonable and in line with the laws of the land in the country where Apple has CHOSEN to operate and benefit. This is the cost of that. I am all for Apple being heavily fined for refusal... or even have the assets seized by the state... Apple is successful in many ways BECAUSE of the US government creating a fertile and business friendly environment... and it is Apples responsibility to be a good "citizen" regardless of if it hurts their image or not.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't win

    Apple can't win this battle nor should they.

  14. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Write my Congress Critter?

    The most prominent one happens to be DiFi, who never met a privacy violation she didn't like.

    Might as well send Putin a tasteful scented card politely requesting that he stop his invasion of Ukraine. and the sanctioned murder of opposition leaders. Or maybe tweet ISIL to please stop being such jerks.

  15. ManUtdUSA


    A key issue that nobody seems to be addressing is that Farook is NOT the owner of the device, it's a work-provided phone.

    He signed a contract stating that the company could, at any time, have full access to their own property.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: ownership

      And also overlooked, the owner reset the password on their on volition without consulting with either the FBI (supposedly) or Apple.

      Also, there are several problems with this scenario with first being the call and text logs should be readily available. Simple cross referencing the phone numbers should determine most of the contacts. Then get off their collective lard asses and go talk to these people (or at least the ones who looking interesting) without stopping at every donut shop in San Bernardino county. The only numbers that would difficult to trace would be to burner phones. I suspect there very of those. The ferals should learn to do old-fashioned, talk to witnesses type police work that they had to do before cellphones ever existed.

      Secondly the ferals aka keystone kops should know who changed the password. Lean on that person with a strong suggestion the password should be coughed up or the booby prize is an all expense paid, multi-year vacation at Club Fed complete with a stylish orange jump suit. Someone should know the password in the county IT department. Changing passwords often requires knowing both the old and duplicate entry of the new. Or politely inform them if they can do without knowing the password they can reset it to a known password, say 1234.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022