iPhone irony

The Washington Post is carrying two stores of interest to iPhone users. All the federal judges in Nebraska are provided with iPhones (4s) for work and, in my case, play. The first story recounts that the FBI Director went wacko about the new Apple operating system (iOS 8.0 plus subsequent iterations) because it is encrypted in such a way that law enforcement officers can’t easily get into Apple products. The second Washington Post article recounts that if you downloaded iOS 8.0 or 8.1 to your new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus the phone no longer works as a phone–it becomes a really expensive reminder that Steve Jobs is dead.* We judges have been told not to download the new operating system until our IT people give the OK.

Do any of you see the same amusing irony that I see? Delicioso.**


*Apparently, iOS 8.2 issued a day or so ago fixes these problems. See here.

**If you find references to oral sex disconcerting, do not look up this word in the Urban Dictionary. Substitute “schadenfreude” instead–Germans are far more repressed. Trust me, I know.


4 responses

  1. In re: the FBI director going wacko, it does pose a challenge to them in that, while Apple could be compelled to aid the subpoena, once the encryption is in the Defendant’s hands alone, it becomes a much harder case for the government to compel decryption. The 11th Circuit dealt with an interesting case in this vein here:

    Click to access OpinionDoe22312.pdf

  2. All of the concern is completely overblown and is pure FUD. The encryption in no way effects LE capabilities to tap the line, intercept text/MMS messages, and get a user’s location. The only thing the encryption stymies is data stored on the phone itself and not backed up to the cloud or sent in a message. Once LE has the physical device in their hands, getting pictures, video, and sound recordings would require the decryption key assuming they weren’t backed up to the cloud. That’s it.

    Unless the bad guy is taking, but not transmitting, pictures or videos of their crimes, it isn’t going to hinder the investigation at all. I highly doubt they will find more than a handful of criminals to parade out as “evidence” of how the encryption is the end of the world. Really, how many criminals are in that very narrow intelligence gap between being stupid enough to take pictures/video yet just intelligent enough not to share it with their buddies or the public?

  3. This is why I strictly use an Android phone. If there’s a problem I can root it and fix it. That’s cool though that they don’t force you to use Blackberrys though. My agency is soooo attached to those ancient bricks.

  4. Another bit of irony is the LE hoo-raw over owners encrypting the contents of a cell phone, but I’ve seen no such over users encrypting their emails with any of the several encryption algorithms readily available.

    Eric Hines

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