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Old 26th February 2016, 21:42   #1
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Default Technology vs Law - Apple vs FBI

Came across an op-ed piece on the CNN site here. Though the article begins by covering the Apple Vs FBI encryption debate, the author brings up some compelling points that an increasingly tech-dependent world needs to consider seriously.

That the law is finding it difficult to catch up with technology is no secret, but how bad can it get if we don't try to bridge that gap?

Discuss.
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Old 27th February 2016, 10:07   #2
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Default re: Technology vs Law - Apple vs FBI

This is a continuous debate. While in some cases the lethargy of the law may even work positively, like Thalidomide not being allowed in the US, mostly it is the other way round. Personal privacy and confidentiality v the law is an eternal debate. This the Apple v FBI case MacAfee (of anti-virus fame) has offered to decrypt the data.

Delays can be fatal for enforcement. Another example, we were sleeping on the Video Piracy issue, until the Pirated DVD became the norm! More than the revenue loss, it made piracy socially acceptable.

Last edited by GTO : 29th February 2016 at 16:40. Reason: Removing off-topic discussion on 'lights'. Thanks!
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Old 27th February 2016, 10:21   #3
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The technology gap in FBI vs Apple issue translates into backdoor for law enforcement to encrypted contents. This is a very bad idea.
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Old 29th February 2016, 13:08   #4
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The biggest question to answer first is "what is law"?
What makes something "legal" and something else "illegal"?
What is that thin line of arbitrary criterion (or criteria) that makes the viewpoint jump from lawful side to the "dark side"?
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Old 29th February 2016, 13:47   #5
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Default re: Technology vs Law - Apple vs FBI

Folks, while I appreciate the grievances with automotive lighting solutions and how ambiguous the relevant laws are, this isn't the thread for it. Kindly continue that discussion in the relevant thread on the automotive part of the forum. Thanks



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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
The biggest question to answer first is "what is law"?
What makes something "legal" and something else "illegal"?
What is that thin line of arbitrary criterion (or criteria) that makes the viewpoint jump from lawful side to the "dark side"?
Exactly the kind of questions the article tries to raise. Laws become outdated or simply irrelevant with time, and something entirely acceptable and lawful at the time the laws were written, have crossed over to the unacceptable side now. Social evolution.

What's more concerning is, there are concepts in existence today that weren't even considered possible when certain laws were written, so legal evolution has become a necessity, for the present and the future.
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Old 29th February 2016, 13:59   #6
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Default re: Technology vs Law - Apple vs FBI

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
The biggest question to answer first is "what is law"?
What makes something "legal" and something else "illegal"?
What is that thin line of arbitrary criterion (or criteria) that makes the viewpoint jump from lawful side to the "dark side"?
In Britain the all encompassing definition is 'law is common sense'. This is the basic tenet for trial by jury. We did away with jury trials sometime in the 1950's, I think after the (in)famous Nanavati case. As a result things often revolve around the narrow interpretation of the law by the lawyers.
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Old 29th February 2016, 14:16   #7
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Default re: Technology vs Law - Apple vs FBI

Quote:
Originally Posted by sathish81 View Post
The technology gap in FBI vs Apple issue translates into backdoor for law enforcement to encrypted contents. This is a very bad idea.
What FBI is asking Apple is to create a custom, device specific update and send it only to the terrorist's phone. The update will,
1) Allow unlimited passcode guesses
2) Remove all delays during passcode guesses
3) Enable an automated mechanism for entering passcode.
With these updates in place, FBI can brute force passcode guesses. They might even build a custom device which will connect to any iphone, which has this update and unlock the phone.

Apple, over the years have built robust security into their phones and it cannot be cracked. FBI know this and they are very clear in what they are asking and hence the request for update, which is practically possible for Apple.

What FBI is asking is more of weakening of frontdoor security, than a backdoor.

Also, FBI picked up this case mostly for political reasons. They are already plenty of similar requests to Apple for unlocking iPhones. FBI picked this case and made it high profile since this was a case of a terrorist involving a well known shootout. They want this update from Apple and later use it as precedence for unlocking any smart-phone.

Concerns for Apple:
1) Privacy concerned customers may move from Apple and use any of custom Android ROMs which promise fool-proof security.
2) Once FBI is able to get this custom update, every police station all over the world will have requests for similar custom updates to unlock iPhones seized by them.
This may include countries where free speech is not tolerated and might deal with even death.
(Someone in Saudi claimed on twitter that he is an atheist. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 2000 lashes (Link). What if authorities, after unlocking the phone, find a private conversation between friends, which is objectionable to the state?).
3) These privacy concerns will wean customers away from iPhones, which will result in loss of revenue for Apple.

Some points to ponder:
1) US laws allow authorities to seize anything a person owns (with a court order). But they cannot force a person to reveal what is in their mind. For instance, they can seize a security vault but can't force the person to reveal the combination lock code. Similarly, they can use the finger of an arrested person to unlock the phone but can't force the person to tell the passcode. In this context, should law authorities go to the manufacturer and get a special key for unlocking? Apple can, but is every phone manufacturer capable of building a secure update targeting only for one device?

2) Law authorities already have huge metadata of all phone calls, SMS sent & received with exact date and time and an approximate location of the device. Is this enough? Or they require to know the content too?

3) Fallacy of backdoor - while a backdoor (a secret, always available access) enables authorities access information from the device, so can crackers, hackers, repressive Govts, spammers and other anti-social elements. Should any computing device have a backdoor?

4) Cryptography is well known mathematics and is all public information. Anybody who understands this math can create a secure communication, which would be unbreakable. So if a terrorist organization wants secure channel of communication, it is available right now (eg, PGP email). In this situation, more than the terrorists, will not the weakened frontdoor or backdoor be used against innocent citizens?

Last edited by msdivy : 29th February 2016 at 14:21.
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Old 29th February 2016, 15:34   #8
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Default re: Technology vs Law - Apple vs FBI

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
The biggest question to answer first is "what is law"?
What makes something "legal" and something else "illegal"?
Laws are made based on the Zeitgeist of the time. Therefore, they need to change according to the changing Zeitgeist.

For example, performing Sati or burning witches was legal or the right thing to do by the Zeitgeist of those times. Now the same act would be considered abomination by current Zeitgeist and the law.

Sometimes, the law doesn't get changed due to lack of enthusiasm or Zeitgeist is different in different countries. Gays are still persecuted in India just for being gay, while they are running countries and large companies elsewhere.

And technology is one of the areas where law rarely catches up with the usage. Did you all know that we Indians are not supposed to use encryption above 40bit key length? However, most of us use 128/256 bits encryption everyday. We also use 2048bit RSA encryption for key exchange.

https://indiancaselaws.wordpress.com...laws-in-india/

Last edited by Samurai : 29th February 2016 at 15:35.
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Old 29th February 2016, 15:41   #9
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Default re: Technology vs Law - Apple vs FBI

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Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
In Britain the all encompassing definition is 'law is common sense'. This is the basic tenet for trial by jury.
I disagree on both points. British law is not common sense, nor, sometimes, even logical, although it follows a logic of its own. I had a great interest in it when I was young. If I had been able to apply my mind to academic success, it might even have become my career!

British juries have nothing to do with law. Their job is to decide the facts on the evidence given. Law, in the case, is entirely the Judge's job.
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Old 29th February 2016, 19:28   #10
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Default Re: Technology vs Law - Apple vs FBI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Laws are made based on the Zeitgeist of the time. Therefore, they need to change according to the changing Zeitgeist.

For example, performing Sati or burning witches was legal or the right thing to do by the Zeitgeist of those times. Now the same act would be considered abomination by current Zeitgeist and the law.
The problem with the Zeitgeist theory is that Sati was not considered as an abomination in those days! It was only when a law was passed prohibiting that slowly the society started "accepting" sati process as a deviation from "normal".

So my question still remains.
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Old 29th February 2016, 19:41   #11
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The problem with the Zeitgeist theory is that Sati was not considered as an abomination in those days!
If not of time, it is the Zeitgeist of the people influencing the lawmakers.
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