Apple

Apple iPhone 6S Announcement Tomorrow: Encryption is Already Its Best Feature

The phone will have a better camera, Force Touch technology, and maybe a smarter Siri too.

|

AppleEncryption
ifars

Tomorrow, Apple is putting on its "biggest" product rollout event ever, supposedly. Rumors suggest that the new upgraded iPhone 6S will feature nifty new cameras and video software and Force Touch technology that will enable apps to access different functionalities by distinguishing between taps and hard presses. Apple is also expected to make announcements regarding a new iPad Pro and Apple TV.

Still the most significant technology that Apple and Google have provided in the last couple of years is end-to-end encryption of communnications between mobile devices. The New York Times today notes that Federal spies and law enforcement are trying to force the companies to roll back encrytion, but so far the companies are standing firm. From the Times:

In an investigation involving guns and drugs, the Justice Department obtained a court order this summer demanding that Apple turn over, in real time, text messages between suspects using iPhones.

Apple's response: Its iMessage system was encrypted and the company could not comply.

Government officials had warned for months that this type of standoff was inevitable as technology companies like Apple and Google embraced tougher encryption. The case, coming after several others in which similar requests were rebuffed, prompted some senior Justice Department and F.B.I. officials to advocate taking Apple to court, several current and former law enforcement officials said.

The Times is also reporting the Feds efforts to get Microsoft to turn over data that is stored on the company's servers in Ireland. The company makes the excellent point that if the American government can force access to data stored overseas, then the Chinese, Russian, and Saudi Arabian governments will use that precedent to demand access to information stored on servers in the U.S.

Finally, the Times observes:

"There's another attack on our civil liberties that we see heating up every day — it's the battle over encryption," Timothy D. Cook, the company's chief executive, told a conference on electronic privacy this year. "We think this is incredibly dangerous."

Echoing the arguments of industry experts, he added, "If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too." If criminals or countries "know there's a key hidden somewhere, they won't stop until they find it," he concluded.

When Apple announced its encryption FBI Director James Comey declared that iOS data encryption puts consumers "above the law" and Apple is actively advertising that fact.

If so, then the law needs to be changed. Ultimately, a secure internet is in the best interests of liberty.

NEXT: Yes, your wife is part of your family (plus special bonus astronomy talk)

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Ultimately, a secure internet is in the best interests of liberty.

    But the proprietary nature of Apple and having to use iTunes is not.

    1. What decade do you think this is? iTunes has not been a requirement for ages. And with the “open” nature (farcical at best) of Android, you lose a lot of security features and a coherent update strategy.

      1. Oh good, that’s just what H&R needs. A flame war between Apple and Android fanboys.

        Hmm, where are there no fangirls? Are all tech nerds libertarians or something?

        1. Can we put off the Apple vs Android flame war at least until we have settled the vi vs. emacs war?

          I’ll be happy to start making impassioned posts about a phone OS as soon as we have rooted out all the emacs heretics and forced them to convert for the good of their souls.

          1. settled the vi vs. emacs war

            It’s cute that you think there is enough of a competition to actually call it a war.

          2. emacs: a decent operating system saddled by a terrible text editor.

            vi: the gods’ own text editor.

          3. No, first the vee eye vs vie flame war.

            1. Don’t be silly. It’s “vee-eye”.

          4. I like emacs, but only because I couldn’t be bothered to learn how to use vi, which is still utterly incomprehensible to me and I just need a non-GUI text editor.
            So, just maybe, there is a place in the world for both.

          5. I was thinking about this the other day — in the age of gigabytes of RAM, how can the old “Eight-hundred Megabytes And Continually Swapping” be updated?

            1. It used to be just “eight”, no hundred involved. If it can take that kind of modification, it can take more of the same.

      2. Apple is like a circumcision at a Planned Parenthood office: NO CLASS.

    2. And any proprietary encryption products are suspect if they’re coming from the US, where big companies are forced to secretly install government accessible backdoors and the like into their products. Open source encryption would be preferable, but then of course consumers would need to be allowed to install and actually own their phone’s OS to make that a viable option for the market.

      1. I worked at a company that built a new data center in the UK not for redundancy but because our EU customers were refusing to host applications in our US data center because they didn’t want to be snooped on.

        What a waste of fucking money. I wonder if anyone is trying to figure out the cost of shit like that.

        1. Yeah there. I think some scholars at the Mises Institute were doing some preliminary research on the destruction of growth and capital by way of our privacy violations. I heard it mentioned in some lecture I’ll try to find…

        2. I worked at a company that built a new data center in the UK not for redundancy but because our EU customers were refusing to host applications in our US data center because they didn’t want to be snooped on.

          A strategy that might make more sense if the UK wasn’t as bad or worse than the US.

          1. They’ve been pretty surveillancey since before 9/11 and it’s security apparatus’ exploded in power every bit as bad as US agencies did after 9/11. I think it’s fair to say they’re worse.

          2. Yup, I had to be on my best behavior to not rub that in the faces of our clients who thought the EU was so much better than the US with its NSA.

            1. I had to be on my best behavior when a white South African was lecturing me on how awful crime and race relations are in the United States and more generally how terrible it is here. AND she told me how great South Africa is (she lives in the Netherlands mind you).

              Sadly, “the best I could” do was explain to her that South Africa leads the world in several atrocious crime metrics like rape, but in particular some niche forms of it like baby rape, as well as atrocious race relations that features an ongoing genocide whose existence is politically incorrect to discuss or study.

      2. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is developed in the US. Actually, if it is developed in the US, the government has to actually force the company to do it in the (double-totes-secret) court of law. However, if the work is being completed outside the US, then the CIA and NSA are free to send their spies to build the back doors.

        Snowden and other leaks have demonstrated pretty clearly that the US Government, as well as its allies in Britain and elsewhere, have infiltrated European carriers and manufacturers in order to compromise their encryption mechanisms.

        The best thing that companies can do is to create an encryption API wrapper in their OS that allows any app to send a text/image object to a plug-in (chosen by the user) and receive back an encrypted object which is then transmitted. At that point, the phone developer is off the hook for encryption. Because the encryption service will be out of their control, they won’t even know necessarily where data will be stored on the phone (if not on the cloud). It also allows the user to choose whatever encrypt technology they want.

        1. Of course, there is always the possibility that the OS developer’s API is compromised (app/user thinks they are sending the message to the encryption service, but it is actually being sent back to NSA datacenters.) However, this can be mitigated by letting encryption providers publish their public keys somewhere reachable by the apps depending on their service. App verifies the public key with the app provider (HTTPS call) then when they receive the encrypted object back from the API, verifies that it was signed by the encryptor.

          The downside of this is that the government can still compromise the phone with some elaborate proxying in the OS layer. Essentially, if they can compromise the OS, they can really do a lot to fuck you over whether you are careful or not.

          1. If the NSA has compromised the OS, then you’d expect it to have compromised the API so that as long as the NSA backdoor is in place, the digital signature is verified.

            Like the Ken Thompson Hack.

  2. Apple is furiously trying to repair their image garnered through their awful proprietariness.

    1. It’s not like they’re hurting for business.

    2. With a product rollout involving the words “force touch”? It’s like they’re campaigning to trigger rape victims.

      1. LOL

        distinguishing between taps, known as “iLoveCuddles” and hard presses, called “iXXGropes”.

      2. Next year they’ll introduce “Bad Touch”.

      3. Be assured that with encryption there will be no penetration.

    3. LOL. I’m not seeing where the average consumer gives a crap.

      1. Well, the average consumer is kind of a doofus and more or less completely unaware the level to which they’re compromised.

  3. When Apple announced its encryption FBI Director James Comey declared that iOS data encryption puts consumers “above the law” and Apple is actively advertising that fact.

    You know who else was above the law?

    1. Talk about doublethink. Fuck you Comey you woodchipper food piece of shit. The constitution is the fucking law asswipe. You’re the one trying trying to place yourself above it you scum sucking facist.

      1. If the FBI director is against it, then I’m all for it. Call it my knee jerk reaction.

    2. “I’d rather be above your law than beneath your boot.”

  4. Ultimately, a secure internet is in the best interests of liberty.

    Which is why the government opposes it.

  5. REASON, WHY U FORCE HTTPS?

    It breaks Reasonable and forces us back to the Dark Ages of 2008. Please stop.

    1. It’s in advance of their new digital currency rollout, ChipCoin

    2. Reason forces it? Besides HTTPS being a very good idea, I’m pretty sure it’s a browser setting.

      Firefox may have switched to having “HTTPS Everywhere” be on by default sometime in the recent past. Wouldn’t be shocked if Chrome did that as well.

      1. $ curl -v https://reason.com/blog

        HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently

        < Location: https://reason.com/blog

        It’s not just Firefox.

        1. Hmm…in any case, http is probably a bad idea for most sites going forward.

          1. At the very least, they should have encrypted the login process.

        2. The encryption isn’t bad. All 256 bit encryption, all PFS.

          Squirrels: If you turn on HSTS, you’ll get an A+.

      2. I don’t think it’s a browser setting. I too have HTTPS everywhere, but I disabled it for Reasonable.

        Ii used to be able to change to ‘http’ with Reason, but now it defaults back.

        1. I put in a pull request for Reasonable to handle https, don’t know how active the author is

  6. Fap at will.

    1. Not until they include an x-ray vision camera

  7. CLOSE THE FOURTH AMENDMENT LOOPHOLE

    1. Exactly. How could the Founders have imagined terrorists using the Internet?

  8. When Apple announced its encryption FBI Director James Comey declared that iOS data encryption puts consumers “above the law” and Apple is actively advertising that fact.

    So does the FBI encrypt any of its data? And if so, are they willing to build a backdoor for other law enforcement agencies? If not, why does the FBI think it’s above the law?

    1. Just remember — if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.
      We need to crucify those f****rs with this.
      My data shouldn’t be open until theirs is — I want to browse the FBI files, and the NSA files, and all the rest, and I’ve got more right to do that than they do to look at anything of mine.

  9. 9/8/15: the day reasonable died. NEVER FORGET.

    1. We shouldn’t need a 3rd party add-on for a decent commenting system to begin with.

      When we look back on this era and ask “Why did the libertarian moment fail to materialize?” the answer will be clear: we were all too busy hitting refresh just to see the newest comments.

      1. The site seems to have switched over to https all the time. Reasonable can’t handle it. RIP.

        1. Oh yeah, look at that. My home internet has been broken for a bit, so I hadn’t been using Reasonable lately.

  10. Personally, I like feeling above the law. Like Big Ernie McCracken at the end of Kingpin.

    1. He didn’t wanna get beat by a guy with a hook, ya know?

  11. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is developed in the US. Actually, if it is developed in the US, the government has to actually force the company to do it in the (double-totes-secret) court of law. However, if the work is being completed outside the US, then the CIA and NSA are free to send their spies to build the back doors.

    Snowden and other leaks have demonstrated pretty clearly that the US Government, as well as its allies in Britain and elsewhere, have infiltrated European carriers and manufacturers in order to compromise their encryption mechanisms.

  12. I personally am neither a fan of Apple nor a user of it’s products, my choice, for my reasons. That being said, and respecting the below appearing excerpts from the article, note the following.

    Echoing the arguments of industry experts, he added, “If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too.” If criminals or countries “know there’s a key hidden somewhere, they won’t stop until they find it,” he concluded.

    When Apple announced its encryption FBI Director James Comey declared that iOS data encryption puts consumers “above the law” and Apple is actively advertising that fact.

    Re “keys left under doormats”, sounds about right to me.

    Concerning the opinion voiced by Mr. Comey, with all due respect, however much that might be, on more than one occasion, faults have been found present in various statutes. Such a situation might not be all that unlikely here.

    Otherwise, now and then I voice my opinion via The Internet, on various matters, as I have done here. Should the recipient of my comments wish to share them with the authorities, aside from the fact that they appear on an “open forum” such as this, that’s up to the recipient. As to other things residing in my personal computer, should “the authorities” seek to view them, “come back with a suitable warrant” strikes me as an entirely reasonable response from me to them.

  13. “When Apple announced its encryption FBI Director James Comey declared that iOS data encryption puts consumers “above the law” and Apple is actively advertising that fact.”

    Oh, you mean like qualified immunity, currency debauchery, stealing by way of taxation (extortion) and all the other criminal shit and violations of liberty the government and its agents engage in on a daily basis??

    Ohhhhhh. You’re only allowed to be above the law when you are a politician, or one of their servants that wear different costumes.

    They seriously need to add none of the above and revocation of any implied consent to be governed on the ballots. Whatever these knaves in fancy suits and costumes think they can do, free individuals and free markets can do better.

    When someone votes with their dollar in the market, their stupidity effects them, and not others. That would be like a bunch of idiots gathering around Hillary, and hiring her to set up super secret servers for them. At least these idiots won’t enslave the rest of the individuals who were smart enough to avoid such a scam artist and actually reward good economic actors with their media of exchange instead.

  14. As per other opinions http is probably a bad idea for most sites going forward.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.