MacRumors recently ran a story titled, Justice Department Calls Apple's Privacy Case Stance a 'Marketing Strategy', which seems pretty interesting on its face. Is Apple's denial to crack an iPhone simply to save face?

There has been a sort of conspiracy theory side to this that's well represented by Marco Arment's post on the topic:

It’s their excuse to establish precedent and permanent backdoors for themselves so they can illegally spy on anyone’s data whenever they please. They’re shamelessly using a horrible tragedy to get themselves more power.

And I gotta admit, when I first read it, I thought I bought it. But when you read through the government's motion to compel, you really don't see any of this. They say they don't have any problem with Apple having a clean room where they created fbiOS, and they can destroy fbiOS as soon as the phone's contents are extracted.

Which means part of this is a sort of developer's misunderstanding, both on Arment and Apple's parts, potentially. If you write this fbiOS that allows you to try as many passcodes as you'd like without fear of the OS wiping the phone once, and you know the FBI is going to be back asking for you to do it again, why would you destroy it? Wouldn't it take time to write it the right way again? Simple business math tells you to keep it all around for the next time.

And there's the only place where we have a backdoor problem. The backdoor fbiOS is going to live at Apple, and if it leaks, well, it's everywhere. Apple's going to have to play cat-and-mouse with its own fbiOS at some point if it leaks.

What's strange to me is that the FBI needs Apple to do this. I have to assume they'll compensate Apple for the time it takes to crack the phone, but why don't they already have this expertise in house? I realize iPhone-as-black-box is much tougher to crack than it would be for Apple, but it's scary that the FBI can't get into these things. Imagine what another nation state could do with their data. Our intelligence is pretty obviously going in blind.

More interesting to me, perhaps, is how the government flips the EULA that infects shrinkwrapping everywhere [that shrinkwrap still exists, which is, I guess, almost nowhere now]. If you say this software is yours, and you're going to control it to the point that you can change its features at any time, well, then it's still yours, capiche?

Apple designed, manufactured and sold the SUBJECT DEVICE, and wrote and owns the software that runs the phone -- which software is preventing the search for evidence authorized by the warrant. Indeed, Apple has positioned itself to be essential to gaining access to the SUBJECT DEVICE or any other Apple device, and has marketed its products on this basis.
...
Apple has designed the phone and software updates so that Apple's continued involvement and connection is required.

Quote of page 11

Ouch. Clever.

Clever grrr...affe

I still hate how badly the current FBI director doesn't understand the Internet [in his public comments], but Apple's losing this one, folks.

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