* Posts by tom dial

1430 posts • joined 16 Jan 2011

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E-cigarettes help save lives, says Royal College of Physicians

tom dial
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If I am happy in my addiction, and it does you no significant harm, my opinion, not yours, should be the controlling one.

Full disclosure: I quit smoking (cigarettes) for about the fifteenth time 32 years, 11 months, and 26 days ago, and do not vape.

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tom dial
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The point of e-cigs should not be taken as inducing tobacco smokers to stop, but as a much safer and less offensive way to deliver small amounts of nicotine to the many people who find it pleasurable. With some restrictions we allow people to consume alcohol and to smoke tobacco and in some places marijuana, and we (for some value of "we") promote extensive use of dangerous opioid pain medications. We certainly can live with e-cigs.

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Zuck's $16m security bill

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Zuckerberg's and Sandberg's compensation plans should be quite generous enough that they could afford to provide for their own security from them. The article does not say whether they pay income taxes on that in-kind compensation, but a quick reading of the Form 1040 instructions would suggest that if they do not, they should expect a large bill from the IRS, with interest and possibly also penalties, in addition to the semipublic shaming they can expect here.

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Nearly two billion in the bank and yet this VC is slowly losing his beach-blocking battle

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Eminent domain

While eminent domain has been extensively abused in this country, the case at hand is an excellent example in which such a taking appears fully justified. The beach, up to some point, already is public. Taking a strip for an access path and a reasonable sized block for public parking clearly would serve a public purpose that justifies use of eminent domain far better than the common use of taking land and buildings and turning them over to private developers "for economic benefits to the community."

A Kickstarter campaign might well be able to raise the necessary funds, and not only from surfers. I live nearly 800 miles away on the other side of the Salt Lake valley, but probably would throw in a few dollars for a just cause.

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FBI ends second iPhone fight after someone, um, 'remembers' the PIN

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Re: "Un guaranteed strong encryption"?

There has not been, as yet, a US law or court order, to disable encryption or to require key escrow. That was tried and defeated quite decisively a couple of decades ago.

Apple was asked to defeat certain device features that prevent pass code recovery a number of times, each applicable to a single iPhone. That is quite different from their being asked once for a solution that would defeat those device features on every iPhone. It differs even more from being asked to retain keys to allow decryption of iPhone data, and more yet from weakening the underlying encryption, as some others have claimed.

Apple's code signing either is, or is not, secure. If it is, what they were asked to do would not have decreased by a consequential amount the security of iPhones in general. If it is not secure, iPhone users have a lot more to worry about than the rather limited software the court orders demanded.

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tom dial
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Re: Q: How is the government ever going to convict bad guys without access to encryption?

Based only on the claims made there is nothing that would bring you to the attention of any police agency, whether local or federal. Absent anything else, you almost surely are safe from more surveillance than the general population, which despite the hubbub really is not very much.

If, on the other hand, you had been seen to be generating explosions not associated with appropriate and lawful activities like stump removal, or to have appeared to conduct transactions with others under suspicion of criminal activity, it might well elicit law enforcement interest. If their cursory, and then more careful, observation indicated there might be a problem, they might seek, and be granted a search warrant; that warrant might include the contents of your computers and cell phones and perhaps lead to a court order for help in accessing it. Even with that, though, you would be entitled to the formal presumption of innocence, a presumption that would continue even if you were to be charged with a crime, and tried, right up until there was a finding of guilt by a jury or, at your option, a judge.

On the other hand, if you happened to leave a few thousand dollars in cash in plain sight, law enforcement officials might bring in a talented dog to signal the traces of illegal drugs inevitably present on US cash. The money then might be charged with participation in a crime and seized, leaving you to prove, at considerable effort and expense, that you held it legitimately. The risk of that type of action probably equals or exceeds that of phone seizure and access.

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More questions than answers, literally, from America's privacy rules

tom dial
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There is nothing in the least democratic about any government executive agency, whether federal, state, or local. The fact that "at least the FCC is asking for help" is effectively meaningless; executive agencies often do this, after which they select the answers they like, adopt them by a majority vote if that is their practice, and press on to the next task of agency (and agency poobah) aggrandizement. Anyone ever involved with this type of decision making knows this quite well.

That is not to say executive agencies do no good, as some of them, at least do so in quite necessary and useful ways. The US FDA provides numerous examples. Still, the rulemaking is not democratic. The FCC did far better at technical engineering rulemaking than it seems to be doing in its newly grabbed role.

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tom dial
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Incorrect. The article describes agency empire building. While also ubiquitous, that is not regulatory capture.

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FBI's Tor pedo torpedoes torpedoed by United States judge

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Re: Bah!

Federal judges, as in this case, are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Many state and local judges are elected, most subject to a requirement that they completed law school and passed the applicable bar examination. Neither process guarantees that a judge is well qualified or that a well qualified and experienced judge will not make a mistake.

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tom dial
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Re: Dear Ferals

"aren't those federal officials who violate the Constitution be guilty of treason?"

No, they are not. Treason is clearly defined in the Constitution, and what the judge did, however incorrect, does not meet that definition. See Article III, Section III.

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Official: EU goes after Google, alleges it uses Android to kill competition

tom dial
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Re: meh

Are you saying Facebook, Uber, and "etc etc" are somehow required to write their applications so they won't run on anything but Google middleware? I don't say that's not true, but given the size and capability of the two named companies (especially the first), it seems a bit implausible or maybe simply an effect of laziness in view of the fact the apparently discontinued Fire Phone has a market share of approximately zero. Either way it seems a matter to take up with Facebook, Uber, and the like, to whom the apps belong, rather than Google.

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tom dial
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Re: Ubuntu Phone

If you can't go to a phone store on the high street and buy a non-Android, non-Apple, non-Microsoft smart phone, why is that Google's fault or Apple's? Could Canonical not do something similar to those three and offer a phone with integrated app store, etc. to the public and see what uptake they get? Or did they and got told, effectively, to pound salt?

As Microsoft and RIM apparently found, there is a strong first mover effect in many areas that may take years or decades to overcome. Google probably could eliminate those provisions the EU Competition Commissar finds most onerous with very little change in outcome.

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tom dial
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Re: It's funny...

Darn that pesky old 1791 first amendment, only a couple of years younger than the All Writs Act, so clearly of dubious applicability now we are in the Internet Age and so much smarter than those of the late eighteenth century who wrote and passed it.

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tom dial
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The notion that Apple would not want everyone to choose an iPhone is absurd. They don't care about the "cachet," they care about the money.

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tom dial
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Re: Alternate operating systems

Is this not a wish to express to your phone supplier? It seems to have little to do with Google other than as the hypothetical provider of the underlying OS in most of the examples. Whether any phone provider or manufacturer cares to develop, test, and provide their customers with such choices is something for them to decide.

Arguably, it is for Google to decide whether they will develop and test GMS on operating systems that they do not develop, and ultimately provide operability assurances to those who offer it on their phones. If they did not do that it would be on the phone manufacturer and provider to do the work, in addition to porting NonAndroid to the hardware and assuring its operation with their network, to insure correct operation of either Google GSM or other services they might want to substitute. It is not entirely obvious that they would wish do do that, or why.

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So you’d sod off to China to escape the EU, Google? Really?

tom dial
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Re: EU Backward?

Well, he actually said "... China, and Asia-Pacific and Silicon Valley ..." That includes a lot in Asia that is not "China," and given the lack of internal trade barriers, includes the entire USA and, for practical purposes probably Canada and Mexico.

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Google's 'fair use' mass slurping of books can continue – US Supremes snub writers' pleas

tom dial
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This might or might not be true of technical books as a group, but probably is untrue of textbooks, a great many of which are derivative, redundant with other textbooks, and sold mainly to the authors' students or at least students in the schools where the authors teach. I'm not claiming that's wrong, as I have accumulated several such textbooks that I thought at the time were pretty good, one of which I used in galley proof and helped correct. For most of them, though, the main royalty issue for the authors would have been former students selling them on as used books, something I understand some authors handle by issuing revisions every few years and requiring the current revision.

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Surprise! Tech giants dominate global tax-dodging list of shame

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The article evidently is about federal taxes on income, so references to state and local income, property, or sales taxes are misleading.

With that in mind, the average federal income tax rate for individuals appears to be slightly over 10% of total income at present, with an additional Social Security + Medicare payroll tax a bit under 8%, for a total slightly below 18%, a lot less than the 31.5% stated in the article.

States with income taxes (seven have none, and two more tax only dividend and interest) probably have average rates in the neighborhood of the 5% I pay in Utah. Adding that to the federal average of 18% (and the article is about federal taxes) still gives only about 23%, and adding local income taxes (where they exist) would likely raise the average rate by no more than 2 or 3 per cent., giving an average of, say, 26%, still quite a lot lower than the 31.5% the article claims. New York, especially New York City, and California appear to squeeze a lot harder than most, but certainly are not typical.

Other taxes do add significantly to the individual tax burden, and depending on circumstances there probably are quite a few people who pay more than half of their income in some form of tax, but that would not be federal taxes, for the most part, and it would not be income based.

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Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security

tom dial
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Re: Unwanted consequences

The proposed act, like the court order in the Farook iPhone case, does not require that the government have any keys at all, or even be able to use whatever a vendor devises to comply with the act. It requires that the vendor decrypt or assist the government to do so.

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tom dial
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Re: I don't see how this would be a problem for Apple

There are a few other countries where law enforcement officials would be happy to be able to access data stored on smartphones (France, Belgium, and the UK come to mind rather quickly). It seems possible that these companies find few large markets in which to sell equipment that is immune to government authorized search.

Upvoted anyhow for clarity of analysis, although the bill, if enacted, is certain to differ from what we see now in draft.

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tom dial
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Re: I don't see how this would be a problem for Apple

The prohibition of ex post facto laws probably would be effective exactly until they (for whatever value of "they") offer a new model or an update to the software or firmware of an existing model.

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tom dial
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Re: I don't see how this would be a problem for Apple

The question might well be whether Apple would be able to sell such equipment in the US. The draft law appears to require that they bypass, or help the government to bypass, security that they provide or have provided on their behalf by another party, given a constitutionally valid warrant or other court order, and maybe a lawful court order for assistance under the proposed act, to do so. One obvious solution to the "cannot bypass" claim would be a "cannot sell" injunction applicable to such equipment in the US.

I am not arguing that this would be good policy, or would not cause great uproar and discontent. However, it is not obviously inconsistent with anything in the Constitution. Moreover, if implemented subject to the same controls that Apple applies to iOS, it would not, in fact, pose any threat that does not now exist to users against whom the government does not obtain authority to breach privacy.

The draft act has numerous problems, but "cannot bypass my built in security" may not be the most serious of them.

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tom dial
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Re: In the Land of the Free..

You are allowed now to keep whatever secrets you wish by default. The government (either federal or state) can get authorization from a judge to access those secrets by obtaining a warrant based on "probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation." That is included in the Constitution's fourth amendment. The proposed law may be unworkable and it may be bad policy, but nothing in it affects legal rights of citizens or of non-citizens legally present in the US.

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Re: I don't see how this would be a problem for Apple

On its face, the draft law requires in Section 3a that a company that provides a device or encryption system "shall" perform certain actions under specified circumstances. How they provide for that (Section 3b) is up to them; the government cannot require a specific implementation (similar to the fact that they did not require a specific implementation in the recent California case). The imperative "shall" does not, on its face, allow for a "covered entity" such as Apple, for example, to evade this by implementing a security system in their product that they cannot, in fact, circumvent; the law, if enacted, will impose a requirement

The draft does not provide any information about the consequences for a "covered entity" that either will not or cannot comply. I can imagine a fine, possibly quite large, for covered entities that refuse and possibly injunctions shutting down sales of non-compliant products which the covered entity has designed so that it cannot bypass the product security. That would be a sad outcome indeed.

The proposed law still is pretty rough, and does not cover things, such as fraud, money laundering, and other financial crimes that seem fairly obvious. There seems no very good reason, for example, to single out any particular type of crime for this treatment; it ought to be enough for a US or District Attorney to be able to convince a judge to issue a search warrant based on probable cause. (I expect that other types of court order, if included in an enacted version, would be thrown out on the basis of Riley v California, which found a warrant necessary for search of a cell phone, even incident to an arrest).

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Half of people plug in USB drives they find in the parking lot

tom dial
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Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

H. L. Mencken

Probably includes university students as a special, and maybe more gullible, case.

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FBI Director defends iPhone 5C unlock tool that's obviously going to leak into wrong hands

tom dial
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Americans do indeed have a right of privacy from undue police inquiry. That right can be modified by issue of a search warrant, however, as was done in the cases for which they obtained orders for Apple to assist them. The search warrant specifies the modifications in terms of what can be searched and what, if found, can be used in a prosecution.

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tom dial
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Re: Who cares if it leaks?

The "second request" mentioned appears likely, in fact, to be an earlier one, where the judge suggested Apple oppose it and sent them back a couple of times to get them to revise their brief so he could deny the order, which he did. That one was in various states of play from October, 2015 on.

All these cases (by now several hundred) have to do with executing legally obtained search warrant for a phone the police have in their possession.

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Panama Papers hack: Unpatched WordPress, Drupal bugs to blame?

tom dial
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Re: It is as I suggested

I do not think this distinction is valid, unless the legal difference between "whistleblower" and "hacker" is that the first is on the company payroll and the second is not. In fact, what was done probably was illegal irrespective of who did it.

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Megabreach: 55 MILLION voters' details leaked in Philippines

tom dial
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Re: 30 million here, 50 million there

The downside, of course, is that everybody's existing accounts already are identified by the national ID number.

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Microsoft announces Azure Functions, encrypted cloud storage

tom dial
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The keys

If the encryption is done using a key that I alone have, I might be interested. If not, it is nothing but empty and useless marketingspeak.

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Critics hit out at 'black box' UN internet body

tom dial
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Yes. What authority does it have and, more importantly, what power? Who can ignore it, and who must follow its orders? What actions can it take and make stick?

Its web page at http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/aboutigf suggests it is little more than another yammering society.

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That one phone the FBI wanted unlocked? Here are 63 more, says ACLU

tom dial
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Re: Perjury is a crime

Search warrants are issued based on sworn statements. See the fourth amendment text. The fact that a statement made in a warrant application later is found to be untrue (or no longer true) does not prove perjury, although it might raise suspicions, depending on the circumstances.

Also worth noting in the fourth amendment text is the requirement to "particularly" describe "the place to be searched, and the persons or things to seized." That pretty much guarantees that most warrants to search iPhone-like things will apply to one specific device only, as did the warrant and order that applied to the Farook iPhone.

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tom dial
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Re: More fool you

The Manhattan district attorney announced weeks ago that he had 175, and it is not unlikely that he has more now.

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tom dial
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The All Writs Act, part of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that set up the federal courts subordinate to the Supreme Court, authorizes courts to issue orders to enforce other more specifically authorized orders such as, for instance, search warrants. It is not a general purpose authority to issue ad hoc orders or orders not supported in a general sense by the Constitution and the body of statutory and common law.

The notion that the United States in 1789 was without a well established legal framework is quite incorrect. The new nation adopted the common law framework of England with modifications the founders thought reasonable and appropriate for the new world environment and taking note of what they considered defects or excesses in that framework. A number of those modifications can be found in the first ten amendments, ratified in 1791. Thus, in the earliest years, the US had a fully functioning legal system with roots well over 500 years in the past.

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tom dial
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Government spokespeople said the search warrant and court order related to the Farook iPhone applied to only the one device. Anyone who read the court order can confirm that to be a truthful statement, but one that makes no mention of the several hundred other iPhones which various law enforcement organizations have in their possession and for which they have, or expect to obtain, search warrants. While not exactly a lie, it was at least misdirection, since the expectation was that Apple would be asked to help execute them in the same was as in the California and earlier New York cases.

It is not clear why some people seem to find this shocking. Search warrants have been standard law enforcement tools for a long time, and they generally are issued one or a few at a time, in conjunction with specific investigations, as the Constitution and laws require. Despite the tendency to focus on terrorism in the case at issue, only a tiny fraction of search warrants, including those for iPhones and the like, are issued for that. Nearly all of them concern more common crimes like theft, embezzlement, illegal drug dealing (as in the otherwise similar NY iPhone case), murder, fraud, and official corruption.

It also is not clear why anyone should think it inappropriate to use the All Writs Act because it is old and being used in respect of new technology. The fourth amendment is only a about two years younger and nobody argues that it is old and therefore should not apply to the same new technology. If use of the All Writs Act is finally determined inappropriate, it probably will be because other laws govern the case or because the burden in whatever case is finally decided is too large (as Apple argued).

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Re: And this is what Apple meant when they objected

They probably would have to maintain different versions for sufficiently different hardware versions. It seems likely, though, that there would need to be a lot fewer versions of source code for the few modules that require change than there are major OS versions, save for individual iPhone specifiers that reasonably would be put in distinct header files in order to comply with requirements that each particular load operate only on the particular phone described in a warrant and court order for assistance. Managing security for the special software modules should not be harder or cost more than what they do for the public releases in the ordinary course of business.

It is a legal fine point, but pertinent, that it is not the FBI or police who seek warrants but the US attorney or a state attorney general or district attorney. These officials know better than to ask for unrestricted warrants, as do the judges to whom they must apply; and is very unlikely that a judge would grant a warrant for phones generally, as the fourth amendment pretty clearly forbids that. It is even less likely that Apple or another manufacturer would fail to resist such an order, or fail to get one overturned quickly.

It is entirely plausible that the government (in the person of a US or district attorney) would seek an All Writs Act order (assuming such orders eventually are determined to be legally appropriate) covering a number, perhaps a large number) of phones for which specific warrants had been issued. And there would be nothing wrong with that if each underlying search warrant was in order.

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Apple's fruitless rootless security broken by code that fits in a tweet

tom dial
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Re: No magic bullet

"Having a permission system that tries to prevent the admin from accessing certain files is asinine ..."

It would be interesting to have the opinion of someone in management at NSA (or GCHQ, CSEC, etc) about that.

As a database and system administrator I was aware, and somewhat concerned, although not overly so, about the databases on our Unix systems, all of which were set up with only standard discretionary access controls. The situation was better on the mainframes, where the mandatory access control system (RACF, ACF-2 or Top Secret) separated system, database, and security administration. Although a system administrator could bring up a system without the MAC, it would have been quite hard to do without being noticed and reported by one of the rather large number of people present and watching on those occasions.

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The FBI lost this round against Apple – but it aims to win the war

tom dial
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Re: End of the War

Search warrants often, possibly in most cases, expose things not relevant to an investigation or the purpose of the warrant. The law has been dealing with that issue, on a much smaller scale to be sure, for centuries. A frequent case would be search of a house occupied by a number of people, of which only some are targets of investigation, where the police may not search beyond the warrant limits (although they may be able to act based on something "in plain sight" that indicates a law violation). Much the same would be true of the information scanned by a Stingray (if it does not automatically filter out untargeted communications).

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tom dial
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Re: End of the War

"... success for the FBI would undoubtedly have been the first step in attempting to gain a chain of precedents that would end by compelling vendors to supply skeleton keys on demand."

There is not really any evidence for that, and while I think courts ordinarily grant most search warrant requests, they do not grant all, and sometimes narrow those they do grant. Courts also do not ordinarily go too far in the direction of extending government powers, although the increasing politicization of the US Supreme Court and demands that it take care of problems that because of basic disagreements cannot be handled legislatively put that at risk.

The fundamental issue is well worth public debate and possibly legislation, but those now demanding that need to be a bit careful what they ask for. I know of no Constitutional limitation that would invalidate a law requiring devices and cryptographic software sold in the US to be open, either with manufacturer/vendor support or without it, to search based on a search warrant. Although that would not prevent individuals from using cryptographic systems that effectively prevented search, it could pretty much shut down Apple's security marketing model, although in the Five Eyes and many other countries without great practical effect (for nearly all people, nearly all the time).

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tom dial
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Re: End of the War

@First AC: All legal decisions become part of the body of case law and as such have some value as precedents, and so also would this one have, whether it went for Apple or for the government. The "strategic" component mentioned almost certainly could not have flowed from it, however. There is a basic legal principal with varous Latin formulations that translate roughly as "the law does not the impossible." A defence that "the client encrypted it with our software so we cannot get in" would be likely to succeed if the facts in evidence showed the impossibility of the task (as they did not in the case of the Farook iPhone). I think it very likely that ProtonMail could offer that defence successfully, and as I understand it Lavar Levison had a problem when the FBI came calling because he could not, in a practical sense, make such a claim stick with respect to Lavabit.

I quite agree that we always need to keep an eye on the police, and even more so the prosecutors, for behaviour beyond what is reasonable and appropriate, and all too often, the law. That does not mean, however, that everything they do is dodgy. In the Farook iPhone case, they appear to have made demands that were tailored quite carefully to the specifics of the device and included a requirement that the solution (whether the one they suggested or another) work only on that device and not alter the installed OS software. Contrary to the assertion, they followed normal legal processes that they had used successfully dozens of times in the past. Bullying, if it occurred, involved no more than an increase in the work required of Apple and invoking the terrorism section of the moral panic handbook.

As for having "a debate on how to find an acceptable modus operandi," it certainly appears that FBI Director Comey has made some obvious efforts at that in the last couple of years and fairly consistently been shouted down by some of those now demanding it.

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tom dial
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Re: End of the War

The apparent claim here of equivalence between lawful search and totalitarianism is rubbish. For more than two centuries there has been a balance in the US between the government and citizens as to how far the government may intrude into citizens' personal and private matters, and on what basis. Statutory and case law based on the fourth amendment has increasingly narrowed the scope of government action, and that generally is to the good. The basic arrangement, in which a government official must petition a judge for a search warrant, citing facts to support a claim of probable cause to believe a crime has been committed or is about to be, and describing the search target with reasonable precision, has not changed and is not likely to. The fact that the government can obtain a warrant, seize a personal communication device, and with or without the manufacturer's help access the stored contents will not be a disaster any more than the fact that the government can obtain and execute a search warrant on a home, automobile, or office.

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Oracle traps its cloud inside own tin boxes

tom dial
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Re: what is

Atom on steroids?

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/atom/atom-x5-x7-consumer-brief.html

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Apple engineers rebel, refuse to work on iOS amid FBI iPhone battle

tom dial
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Re: Developers

Kim Davis was a direct employee of a government, placing her in a somewhat different situation than an Apple developer would be with respect to the court order now in play. It is most extremely doubtful that any Apple employee could be jailed for contempt if he or she refused an order from Apple management to produce what the order demands, unless the government could show that particular employee to be essential to the task, in which case they almost certainly would need a new order specifically identifying the employee and required action.

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tom dial
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Re: I smell fish

There is no constitutional issue here, nor a violation of law. Not by the FBI, and not by Apple. I do not expect that there will be.

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tom dial
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Indeed they can, and it is not at all clear why that should not be thought a socially acceptable outcome. Courts have issued search warrants for hundreds of years. Apple and some of their supporters appear to be asserting that they have a general duty to their customers (but not those of other companies) that supersedes the constitutional, legal, and procedural protections, and their limits, that have been in place for well over 200 years.

I quite agree about Hillary Clinton, although that seems to be progressing, with her bootleg CIO being granted immunity, presumably for providing evidence he might otherwise refuse due to complicity. I suggest that it is a bit inconsistent to argue for federal prosecution in this case and oppose use of standard investigation techniques like search warrants in others.

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tom dial
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This case is about one iPhone and one search warrant, and one court order for Apple's assistance. There has been a decision (adverse to the government) in a similar case, involving one (different) iPhone, one search warrant, and one order for assistance. The Manhattan DA has stated that he has search warrants for 175 iPhones, each of which is the potential subject of a search order; these warrants would have been issued by New York state judges and have nothing to do with the federal government or the FBI. It also is reported that there are quite a few other similarly situated iPhones, split between federal and state or local jurisdiction.

The notion that a corporation should interpose itself between law enforcement officials and lawful targets of court issued and constitutional search warrants is perverse and likely far more novel than the government's reliance on the All Writs Act, which Apple accepted some 70 times in the past.

It would be a different matter if Apple could say honestly that they cannot provide the required assistance, or that they are no better situated to help than others, but they cannot and do not. Apple engineered and implemented the device security the government wants them to help bypass, and by virtue of their presumed monopoly of the ability to install it in the target iPhone are better positioned to bypass it than anyone else. They have opposed the order on legal grounds, and have conducted a PR campaign in which they suggest that creation and existence of the bypass software would pose a threat to iPhone owners everywhere, when in fact, because of the requirement that Apple sign iPhone software the marginal risk would be, in practical terms, zero. They also, but mostly others, have conflated the government's order with surveillance and wiretapping, to which it is essentially unrelated. Some have implied or stated that it would be an instrument of general oppression, which seems a bit of a stretch inasmuch as each iPhone would have to be in the government's possession and require assistance that Apple surely would not provide without being shown a properly issued search warrant.

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tom dial
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"Only if Apple were to remain a US company."

That is not quite correct. "Only if Apple wishes to continue to sell such equipment in the US or sell equipment allowed by law to connect to US networks" seems to me a more likely direction for legislation. The US government may not care greatly whether Apple continues to sell iPhones that US search warrants cannot touch elsewhere, even if Apple were to remain a US based company.

As an aside, I find it interesting and a bit jarring to see the number of people here and elsewhere who argue that a 200+ year old law should be presumed obsolete, while presumably holding fast to the enduring applicability of the Fourth Amendment, which is slightly younger.

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tom dial
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Re: It's likely I'm missing something.

And if it were that simple it is likely the government would do exactly that and avoid an unnecessary dispute. My impression from various articles is that it cannot be done at all easily and with iPhones later than the 5C it is more difficult and with proposed later releases may not be possible at all. This is a marked contrast to Android based phones which, to my understanding, are likely to be vulnerable to the suggested approach.

I may well be wrong and have seen (in a Register comment) a procedure described that had an aura of plausibility, but if I remember correctly it involved extensive interaction with the actual hardware rather than use of a VM copy.

The general thrust of the article and many of the comments is that there should be no possible circumstances in which the government should obtain and exercise a search warrant against an iPhone that is protected by a pass code. I have seen nothing suggesting there should be a similar exemption for iPhones that have no pass code (as mine would be if I had one) or Android based smart phones, whether or not encrypted, yet the legal rights of the owners are entirely identical to those of iPhone owners.

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Former US anti-terror chief tears into FBI over iPhone unlocking case

tom dial
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Re: Apple might need to split up

While I do not own an Apple product later than about 1995 for reasons unrelated to security, I certainly would hope that Apple presently implements every single one of the measures described, and others in addition. They would be seriously slack if they did not, in view of the fundamental importance of the secret signing keys to the security of Apple devices.

It might be noted in passing that keeping systems off the internet didn't keep the Iranian Natanz facility safe.

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tom dial
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Re: Kind of what I said a couple weeks ago.

@tnovelli or John H Woods, or anyone else: Please explain in some detail how executing a fourth amendment compatible search warrant is "raping the constitution," and how what the government's court order demands furthers such a goal.

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