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Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook and others file joint amicus brief supporting Apple

Microsoft has officially joined other major tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and more in filing an amicus brief, or "friend of the court" statement. It's supporting Apple in its current legal fight against the FBI over unlocking an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooting suspects.

Apple has refused the FBI's order, stating that such a move could cause others to gain access to the phone via a "backdoor". The other companies that are joining the brief are Box, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, Mozilla, Nest Labs, Pinterest, Slack, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Yahoo. In a statement, Microsoft's president Brad Smith says:

"We've reached a critical moment in which a new generation of mobile and cloud-based technologies have far outrun the laws that protect our safety and preserve our timeless and fundamental rights. By standing with Apple, we're standing up for customers who depend on us to keep their most private information safe and secure."

Source: Microsoft (opens in new tab)

158 Comments
  • Pathetic. Screw Apple.
  • I don't care about Apple!
    But....
    We can't give any government agency's private information like this! Would do more Evil then good! Thanks Microsoft for sticking up for us! Love my 256-bit BitLocker, OneDrive, Lumia 950 XL all safe and sound.
  • It's what we have courts and laws for. The judge has already ruled the FBI has a right to the information -- they just can't get to it without Apple's help in this case.
  • Exactly, and not only that but my understanding is this was his company phone (his personal phone died with him). The company was the owner and freely gave it to the FBI, so no expectation or guarantee of right to privacy should exist. this is really about Apple trying to protect themselves.I'm not tech wizard but there has to be a way to get into THIS phone without opening Pandora's Box.
  • There are ways according to John McAfee... I agree there has to be a way, but what the FBI is asking Apple to do is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to happen.
  • Nope - the FBI has specifically asked Apple to create a new version of iOS that doesn't delete the data on the phone when an incorrect pin code is input a certain number of times. Basically that means, with this version of iOS, you could hack any iPhone just via brute force input. Imagine if someone could get into your bank data just by typing passwords until they guessed right. Now imagine they can input 1000 passwords a second (technologically feasible). And your bank just sits there and lets them try. That's the precedent the FBI is setting, here.
  • More like many billions of combos per second with brute force on modern hardware. Almost 20 years ago, I could brute force millions per second on an old Athlon 64.
  • This is a blatant lie stop spreading this nonsense that tim cook is spreading. The FBI never asked for this so-called back door that can crack any iphone, they simply want access to one specific iphone and I'm sure apple is able to provide it without giving them a universal key. Its a real shame that microsoft and so many other companies are on the wrong side of this issue. Every case has to be individually scrutinized and there is no doubt that this one fits the bill.
  • FBI amongst other law "enforcements" lost the trust battle long ago. If they would play accordingly to the constitution I'm sure that corporate giants would cooperate.
  • For them to unlock one phone for the FBI, them be basically going then access to all iPhones. As soon as they do it, FBI will be able to see what theyve done and replicate it, or just demand it whenever they please. In the case it really is a one key fits all locks
  • There is no specific need to gain access, only nosiness and wanting to control everything that people do, strip any control a person has to privacy. What about people on that phone that are private people living law abiding lives but not known to the controlgencies it's a snowball effect nevermind invading privacy start by stopping & controlling access to arms & munitions that's the main cause.
  • It is not "someone" it is the FBI. and that is a poor comparison since law enforcement can and does subpeana bank records, and phone records, etc. The difference is that data exists, not on the phone and thus does not have a suicide trigger that deletes it.
  • Yeah ! Screw the fbi :D nsa is way cooler :D they got sam Fisher Posted from your moms place
  • I believe that  Apple can create an update to push to that phone and that phone only that would remove the 10 password try lockout. The fbir I would then have to brute force the phone. Steve Gibson talked about it in a recent Security Now podcast on TWIT network
  • That's BS anyone with a decent capacity to hack hardware and software could retrieve the info. Proof? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EWZ8Gi0DVP8
  • Google would have just sold the info to them Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Lol
  •   What did Apple ever do wrong?
  • Designed an OS with effective encryption features.  
  • Lol.... Honestly, as WP fans (and overall Windows fans) Apple has done EVERYTHING that we have always dreamed MS would do... Namely, make a consistently appealing device, and marketed the hell out of it... And, we have to admit that that's EXACTLY what we want MS to do with the Surface Phone....
    ............
    Don't hate the player, hate the game. Via WC For WM10 ☣
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  • True :) And how come you have no issues with your l1520 and win 10 running on it >.> Posted from your moms place
  • I do☺ ... Trust me, I do. Via WC For WM10 ☣
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  • Lol
  • Lol funny
  • II don't like Apple but, if they don't win this case, it'll set a very dangerous precedent and put everyone at risk of cyberterrorism.
  • America is funny country. In Finland we only get screw by high taxes in certain things. But at least there's no spying government.
  • Or so you think ;)
  • Well said
  • Too bad america is not a country
  • Sorry, USA
  • Pathetic. Screw the FBI
  • I don't think you understand the article. This article isn't really focusing on apple as a company, its just that they're the ones in the legal case. The article is about MS standing up with other companies to stand up for Apple in protecting customer privacy and information from any prying eyes. I dislike apple too as their devices aren't that great from my experience in the past but I agree with the point they're proving with MS and other companies
  • You all are aware that the courts ruled awhile ago that personal data on a company phone is still owned by the individual and not the company therefore the company can give the phone to the FBI legally but they can't give the data on it. This legal system is ******. I may hold an unpopular opinion on this but I think if someone has done something that terrible then the FBI should get access to all of their personal information immediately.
  • While I understand the FBI's desire to know what's on this one particular phone, giving them the keys to the kingdom as it were is not a good idea. I don't know if Apple could/should unlock the phone themselves and then give it to the FBI. But giving the means to unlock any phone to anyone is definitely a bad idea.  I agree that personal privacy and all that should be protected. With the state of hardware and software encryption these days, there's bound to be situations like this where someone or some governmental agency wants to circumvent the locks and encryption to get at data that may or may not be on the device. Giving them the means to do so will just mean that everything will have to change to remain secure in the future. So I guess I stand with Apple and all the rest on this one. Sorry feds, we the people just don't trust you to have unlimited access to our personal information.
  • They're not requesting unlimited access to anyone's personal information other than that of the dead terrorist.
  • If I remember correctly (and maybe I'm not), they initially wanted Apple to tell them how to unlock the phone, thus giving them the ability to unlock any iPhone later. If Apple has the ability to unlock it, then perhaps they can do so and then give the phone to the feds. That option I could live with, but can Apple and the Feds?
  • What they want is Apple to disable, on this and only this phone, the feature that will wipe the phone after 10 failed PIN entries. That is all.
  • ^Once is too much!^
  • What if the dead terrorist had information on his phone that could end all terrorism for ever more?
  • What if he had only dick pics on it?
  • That's a huge what if, and is literally impossible. Via WC For WM10 ☣
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  • What an immature statement. Another thing one must remember is that this has broader implications internationally. The definition of terrorist changes from country to country. Why anyone would trust a government not to invade their privacy is beyond me. Stop acting as though the government puts your rights first consistently. Posted from my Lumia 950XL
  • That is bullshit once is not too much, in fact when it comes to saving lives and arresting terrorists privacy has no place on the matter in the same way that the fbi will, and should, go through the mail of these terrorist they should have access to any information that could lead to the arrest of other terrorists.
  • It genuinely scares me that people like you can be so flippant when it comes to privacy.
    Your right to privacy was incredibly hard won....and very easily lost.
  • Terrorist is not just a terrorist. There are ppl fighting a war being there for centuries. And stoping fighting that war would bring shame on the ancestors. They only fight in the middle east And there are those guys like isis who basically are just blwping **** up because nobody stops them. Those fight everywhere. And all other terrorist are made up the american government to have a reason to kill ppl again Posted from your moms place
  • The US government along with Saudi Arabia funded, trained supported and gave weapons to the group now known as ISIS. They also put Bin Laden into power to help fight the Soviet war and Saddam Hussein to fight the war with Iran. What was the end result with all three? They all became a thorn on the US governments back. My point is, governments cant be trusted, because they do things for their own interest and when they're done, they could careless what happens to you or me ...we are just numbers to them. Let's not forget, for decades, our governments had been able to find and know everything about anyone they chose to (even if they were in a cave) without having to decrypt an iPhone or even relying on a phone. I smell something very fishy and so I side with Apple and other tech giants. That said, I also hope this isnt just some big publicity stunt to demonstrate how much our favorite tech giants "care" about our privacy, when they could very well not.
  • ^this Posted from your moms place
  • The FBI has already stated they want Apple to unlock other phones too.
  • No they want ability to access any
  • YES. They don't want a back door. The open letter from Tim Cook was brilliant. He made this all about back doors and the evil government. THe FBI never asked for a back door. This phone was the guys company phone, so there is no expectation of privacy. The company has given permission to crack the phone. Dead people don't have any privacry rights anyway...  
  • No fbi wants to have a backdoor thing. They admitted it already Posted from your moms place
  • I am still courious. If they want the break into the phone isn't much more simple to first break into his itunes account???? I think yeah.
  • And about ten more iPhones actually
  • Seriously? Apple stated that fbi have 175 iPhones in q. May be in wrong.
  • Yes Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Im with bill gates on this one. Not M$
  • The same Gates who said that the reports of his support for the FBI were inaccurate??
  • I stand with apple.. If you buckle and do it once, be prepared do do it on every device.. Apple is not my thing but I'd sure hate to see them fall over this.
  • If the next terrorist attack happens in your town maybe then you will change your mind. The FBI has gone through the proper legal channels to gain the information they are requesting from this device. Having a distrust for government is certainly something I support, but in this case they have the public's best interest firmly in mind. They have followed all laws and processes. I don't buy the slippery slope argument in this case. Don't forget also that Gates is 10-15 years removed from tech. WTF does he know anymore?
  • If the government is on top of their game they will stop it before or while it's happening, not depend on hacking a cell phone after everyone is dead hurt and crying.. Posted from my Icon using Windows Central app for 10
  • If you put as much effort into changing your country's interventionist foreign policy you might reduce the likelihood of terrorist attacks. Violating privacy after the fact saves no lives. Altering policies and avoiding the killing of innocents in the ME (collateral damage) could do more to prevent further attacks than opening dead terrorists phones. Do Americans even know why they are still in that region? Even the Soviets had the grace to concede defeat and leave that region after a decade. Posted from my Lumia 950XL
  • Because bush made then invade middle east and then isis thought " all our leaders are dead. Thanks to bush. So guys ? How about going full rampage:D ? " Posted from your moms place
  • Lippidp....the whole war on 'terror' is just a load of BS designed to keep you yanks from seeing the real problems in your lives...
    Namely, the institutional racism in your law enforcement, the horrible inequality in your society, the ridiculous bloodshed each year caused by your right to bear arms, and the huge corruption within your government.
    Terrorism is just a distraction. I think the stat is 10,000+ deaths per year by guns on average, with deaths from terrorism in America of less than 100
  • Listen they can claims terrorist when ever they like would it not be in peoples interest to gain control on wepons
  • +100
  • Plz ms give up from this case u supporting for wrong thing. FBI is correct
  • I stand with Apple. If you do not you are a statist and I want nothing to do with you.  
  • I never offered you could have anything to do with me.
  • You can already hack any iPhone if you already have it in your possession. Sure you'll have to disassemble it and sift through some binary and hex but it can be done easily. Apple wouldn't go against the Govt if it were as simple as just unlocking one phone.
  • It will take forever to unencrypt the data.
  • It's not decrypting. It's taking it apart and connecting it physically to some hardware engineer tools and bypassing the finger print and other passcodes. John MacAfee just did an interview where he explained this in better layman terms than I can. Once something is in your possession anything can be hacked
  • The only thing McAfee did was bloviate and make himself look stupid. If it was as simple as he said it was this would have been opened on day one. This is all a charade anyway. The government would be in if they hadnt screwed with the passcode when they first got it. Probably did it on purpose so they can get this master key made.
  • That's what makes this so interesting. How do you know they haven't already hacked it? They could just be using this as a ruse to set up a new normal.
  • Lol besides a certain leak that mentions that the government knows there are hackers on the darknet that are capable of doing this
  • If it is that simple why don't you offer to do it for the FBI. Could be a great career opportunity for you.
  • Sigh. You can't see past what the media is saying. A simple web search could show you people who can do this sort of thing. Not to mention that the FBI has unlimited funds that they could even pay a contractor to do it for them if they don't have the staff.
  • Awesome! Asking for help unlocking the phone is one thing, but ordering a company to invent a hackable OS is over the line. Great to see Apple isn't standing alone!
  • That particular os is already the second easiest to hack lol
  • It's funny Amazon supports them but the next update of their FireOS removes on-device encryption. Your web traffic is still encrypted at least but I assume many people think the NSA can already hack that.
  • Snapchat? Amicus in a legal battle over tech privacy??? Loooooool
  • Just what I was thinking too. Hahahahahahaaaa.
  • **** snapchat. They are horny for numbers and won't get their 100mio downloads on windows plattform. So no snapchat here >.< so damn stupid.
    Socialapps should never be about how much downloads they get, but about connecting the **** outa ppl Posted from your moms place
  • Why can't they just hand over the specific data that they're looking for? Don't show them any backdoor, don't show them the methods to gain entry. Just give them the data and leave it at that.
  • The government wants to see for themselves.. Lol. Think about what you're saying. Via WC For WM10 ☣
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  • lol, I know they want to see for themselves. But can't they hand over that data and then call it a day? I haven't read all that deeply into this case, but if the original point of the case was to get that info, then hand over the info and finish the case. Wouldn't that technically stop the government from being able to go any further and ask for a backdoor? Unless in the case there is mention of the government wanting backdoor access to all iPhones.
  • Well, they want full access,,, just to make sure they are getting everything possible.. You can't make sure nothing is left out if you let the giver delegate what's given. They have to search for themselves, or it's not exact.
    .....
    I'm not saying I support that, rather that's what the gummahment wants. Via WC For WM10 ☣
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  • That's a valid point. I don't exactly support a government backdoor either. Regardless, I wonder how long this case will drag on. Anyway, do you think the decision will have a significant impact on tech companies?
  • Could take ⌛ ⌚ Via WC For WM10 ☣
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  • Nope, they can't hand over the data because it breaks chain of custody.
  • I truly stand for what Apple and company did!
  • Good move Microsoft. Stand against this nonsense staging by the government, using fear tactics to get what they want, just like they used 9/11 to justify invading other nations for their oil. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWiusdy1miI Posted from my Surface Pro
  • Here come the neo liberal and conservative downvotes.
    You point is quite profound. What the hell os the US still doing in the Middle East? Saddam os dead, Gaddafi is dead, bin Laden is dead. The states invaded are a mess just take those little wins and leave, unless that was never the purpose of the wars in the first place... Posted from my Lumia 950XL
  • AMEN !
    There was no point for war BUT Afghanistan is the heart of the middle east. And America always wanted in. Always wanted to be part of being in the heart of everything down there. But the government never let them in because America being part of Sth mostly ends up in **** like now.
    That's why 9/11 happened.
    Ask every guy from the middle east an it makes sense.
    Afghanistan was the heart of the middle east. America wanted to be in there and part of that but government said no. And the rest is history Posted from your moms place
  • You haven't lost your close ones in terrorist attacks I guess.... Screw the terrorists, why to maintain rules and privacy for them, they have already broke international laws..... Why even bother of such useless components of society.
  • This isn't about "the terrorists," they are dead and rotting. No one cares about them.  
  • It isn't about them, it is about us. It's not about the FBI or the Government having the data; it's about the fact that they are trying to force Apple to make a hackable OS. That is not acceptable.
  • And yet support actions of a government that also breaks international laws consistently? Drone strikes, Guantanamo, torture camps, illegal wars, regime change. Cry yourself a ******* river. The moral high ground was lost the moment the US started breaking International laws and committing war crimes.
    Come at me hawks. Posted from my Lumia 950XL
  • If they unlock this one iPhone with their backdoor, many more governments can ask them to unlock many more iPhones in the future. And what if this backdoor leaks somehow? They'll be screwed.
  • What's more important, the privacy of a terrorist or the safety and security of the general public?
    FK Apple, FK terrorists, give em what they want, if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear.
  • if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear.
    Disgusting.  
  • What is acceptable today may not be in the future. Are you comfortable with that?
  • Then society needs to dictate that and not a small group of lawyers and politicians.
  • Yeah, much more important to protect the rights of a terrorist
  • Terrorism kills 10,000. Institutional racism in the US law enforcement community kills way more people each year than terrorism ever does.
    You guys need to wake up to the real issues in your society.
  • Law enforcement being forced to shoot violent criminals who attack rather than follow lawful instructions isn't an issue.
  • And I also should have said (I hate that we can't edit comments in the app). I don't even really care that the government/FBI wants the data. I don't give two craps about that. What I care about is 1: What I have already stated and 2: What they are asking Apple to do is create the ability to hack any device. Do you want any decent software engineer out there to have access to your "protected" device? Heck no. That is what is not acceptable. We cannot make ourselves less secure in this world.
  • How many times do people need to explain, it isn't about the freaking terrorists. It is about us as a free country. As I said above, if we the people as a society determine that our privacy and our freedoms are less important that hunting down and eliminating terrorists (which I am not necessarily opposed to - but let's have a free and open debate/vote) then so be it. But as it stands right now, that is not the case. And it should not be left up to lawyers and law makers. It should be left to the people of our free society to dictate that change. For us to not have control over ourselves is not what this country was founded on.
  • It's like you were never taught history at school. Corporation's and governments aren't people. They cant be trusted. They do not have you, the individual, best interest at heart. Posted from my Lumia 950XL
  • Maybe, and I stress MAYBE, the FBI does have the USA's best interests in mind. We all know about Stuxnet and its ability to go undetected. With that, consider that maybe, just maybe, a government or another entity has done the same to Apple (certainly trying to now for sure) and/or FBI, and/or CIA, and/or DOD, and on and on and on. Reports of our power grid being compromised are not unheard of.
    The point being that no matter what, if the key is created it exists! If it exists, all of us, everyone one of us has lost the guarantee that we have thoughts, ideas, memories that are our own and nobody else's and cannot, should not be subject to ridicule ir review. Would any if us be comfortable knowing that they could no longer be able to speak/publish their thoughts and beliefs without being subjected to review and judgement?
    Where does it end?
    Are any of us comfortable knowing that if Apple is compelled to provide the keys to unlock this particular phone, proving that any encryption on any manufacturers phone can be back doored, has given the US Justice Dept. the precedent the courts need to ravage everyone's devices. Even scarier to know that it has already happened without due process thanks to Edward Snowden.
    I watched "Enemy of the State" when it came out and thought it was far fetched and silly. Not so much now!
    PEACE to ALL.
  • Your first sentence.... Lol. Read it back to yourself. Just it. Man, that's sad. Lol Via WC For WM10 ☣
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  • Well technically he's right lol. The fbi does its best to support the government. I mean the government knows what the fbi does so uhm yeah :D Posted from your moms place
  • It just sounds funny because you'd think that's what's expected. Via WC For WM10 ☣
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  • I said lol because i answered from lockscreen :D ive no context what so ever to what of my comments youre replaying hahaha
  • Even a beatle can break an iPhone....How incompetent is the FBI ??? Just call McAfee
  • I m with Bill Gates...
    Who is this "president"...? Never heard about him....
  • As a good software developer, you shouldn't be so flippant about peoples right to privacy. In fact, if your apps held any of my data, I would stop using those apps today.
    Also, Bill Gate has also refuted the FBI's claims regarding his support.
  • Holy crap Snapchat joined the fight!!! Now it's serious!!!
  • OT but maybe now Ms and snapchat van find a middle ground and we'll get a snapchat app hehe! Posted from my Icon using Windows Central app for 10
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  • Okay I have a pretty interesting question. Now this phone they are talking about is a 5c so it doesn't have Touch ID. What if it was 5s or ahead or hell, even a 950 or maybe a Surface Pro 4? Assuming they catch the accused alive, they can just push his finger down the button on the latest iPhone and unlock it, or it will be even more easy if he owns the Microsoft devices I mentioned. All they have to do is hold them in front of his eyes and boom! It's unlocked.
    Would the FBI ethically be allowed to do this? Also, do these biometric authentication methods work if the person is dead, as in this case? Would Windows Hello or Touch ID work for a deceased person?
  • Way to easy lol .That would be against the idea of having access to all phones :D Posted from your moms place
  • Of course they work, as long as tissue is still intact and in the same conditions
  • So these biometric methods are only as good as you are alive! :P
  • A bunch of companies that profit from their user's data teaming up to tell the government that they can't have that data. Nice
  • I believe apple shud jst unlock that one phone to help the FBI but not a create a backdoor for the spying *******
  • You cant do one without the other.
  • Seriously they can jst crack the password that's all and give it to the FBI
  • They only get 10 attempts to unlock the phone. And as you progress through those 10, the time interval between them goes on increasing. So, in short, they need to create a backdoor if they wish to access the information.
  • Do you really believe what you say? You people dream, allot of dreams. I take that phone send it in Romania and in half an hour is unlocked. Wake up people, we are talking here about the company that created the system. You really think they don't know how to do it???? This bullsh*t is just for showoff. To make people feel secure with their shity phones after the first backdoor scandal. Maybe that phone is already unlocked.
  • If the one who died in the incident was their immediate family member, then they will be more than willing to unlock... Hhmmmm...
  • Repeating this idiotic appeal to emotion isnt changing anyone's mind.
  • Really, do you believe that saving someone's private information is more important than saving someone's lives? This is about terrorist and drug diller. If apple wins, it'll officially become a crime world "best choose", giving them safety and freedom to kill us. That's my opinion.
  • Lives matter more than some dumb terrorists privacy
  • People like you genuinely scare me. You act like governments always operate in our best interests....when in fact, they are so demonstrably corrupt that it is painful to even look.
    Don't cede your privacy to people who have the power to deprive you of life and liberty. Especially when more people are murdered by racist US law enforcement each year than are ever killed by US terrorism.
  • If you really believe all that, I say that the big problem is your government. You should do something about that rather than be so concerned about encryption on your phone.
    The governments in most places can access anything and everything with a proper court order. We have lived with this for years. It is how evidence is gathered and criminals convicted. Much of the same evidence that used to be available through those means is now hidden on a device and that means that the ability of law enforcement is compromised. That should be a concern to every law abiding citizen.
    Yes. Trust is required. Trust in the government, justice system, and law enforcement agencies. As it is, we are trusting Apple, Google, Microsoft anyway if we use smart devices. You have to trust somebody, and we all do. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Net neutrality;) we live in a time all of us are mobile. With our thoughts, actions, plans , pictures and accounts and money. You really want the government to get access to that ? What if you said **** the government at some point ? ;) guess what , you're a potential terrorist ^^
    Anyway. Some dead guys is tragic. I totally understand how hard loss is and what kind of anger comes with it. Trust me ive lost my dad last week. But the government of the usa and especially the fbi are proven to only operate for their own good, torture and support of insane people. And I don't give a damn who died then, because this is about the greater good. And the greater good is us keeping our private date to ourselves.
    At least what we can keep private. Posted from your moms place
  • iPhones already have backdoor. Otherwise Apple could not bypass security protections. Just open the door as demanded by court. Then if Apple is serious about security such backdoors should not be there in the first place.
  • Current laws and policies do not address the rapidly and ever changing world of data-based technology, now that more and more people rely on it. It will take tech companies like Apple, MS, Google and others to work with policy makers to develop policies and procedures that allow intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain information in certain situations. Obviously, these will be living documents, but there has to be accountability to strictly govern the gathering of information to protect the average person's rights.
  • I'd rather google die a veeeeeery painful death. I wish ISIS level that place to the ground. So much hate I have for google. Mo korira gugule - ti a tun mo si google. Bokoram ati isis, ki le nse? E lo pa google. Ich verachte das Irrhaus "gugle" auch bekannt als google.
  • The stupidity is strong in this one.
  • Why cant they meet at the middle. Let apple open that particular phone for the FBI. Its matter of national security which can help everyone , they need not give everything they want (such as backdoor etc). Secondly, FBI could have used some hackers to hack into the iPhone but did not do it to follow the rules and respect apple's privacy, it should not be that big a problem for apple to open one phone. now for all others, unless they have your phones your data and phone will still be intact.
  • Apple should have implemented TPM + BitLocker type of security if they really cared about security.
  • Why? The FBI can't get into this old iPhone...so that leads me to think the security is petty damn good!