Another manic Monday? Then you need some of Morcheeba’s Big Calm combining Skye Edward’s mellow voice with the Godfrey brothers’ mellifluous artistry.
Apple’s Friday-filed response to USDOJ: Nah, son
You can read here Apple’s response to the government’s brief filed after Judge James Orenstein’s order regarding drug dealer Jun Feng’s iPhone. In a nutshell, Apple tells the government they failed to exhaust all their available resources, good luck, have a nice life. A particularly choice excerpt from the preliminary statement:
As a preliminary matter, the government has utterly failed to satisfy its burden to demonstrate that Apple’s assistance in this case is necessary—a prerequisite to compelling third party assistance under the All Writs Act. See United States v. N.Y. Tel. Co. (“New York Telephone”), 434 U.S. 159, 175 (1977). The government has made no showing that it has exhausted alternative means for extracting data from the iPhone at issue here, either by making a serious attempt to obtain the passcode from the individual defendant who set it in the first place—nor to obtain passcode hints or other helpful information from the defendant—or by consulting other government agencies and third parties known to the government. Indeed, the government has gone so far as to claim that it has no obligation to do so, see DE 21 at 8, notwithstanding media reports that suggest that companies already offer commercial solutions capable of accessing data from phones running iOS 7, which is nearly three years old. See Ex. B [Kim Zetter, How the Feds Could Get into iPhones Without Apple’s Help, Wired (Mar. 2, 2016) (discussing technology that might be used to break into phones running iOS 7)]. Further undermining the government’s argument that Apple’s assistance is necessary in these proceedings is the fact that only two and a half weeks ago, in a case in which the government first insisted that it needed Apple to write new software to enable the government to bypass security features on an iPhone running iOS 9, the government ultimately abandoned its request after claiming that a third party could bypass those features without Apple’s assistance. See Ex. C [In the Matter of the Search of an Apple iPhone Seized During the Execution of a Search Warrant on a Black Lexus IS300, Cal. License Plate #5KGD203 (“In the Matter of the Search of an Apple iPhone” or the “San Bernardino Matter”), No. 16-cm-10, DE 209 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 28, 2016)]. In response to those developments, the government filed a perfunctory letter in this case stating only that it would not modify its application. DE 39. The letter does not state that the government attempted the method that worked on the iPhone running iOS 9, consulted the third party that assisted with that phone, or consulted other third parties before baldly asserting that Apple’s assistance remains necessary in these proceedings. See id. The government’s failure to substantiate the need for Apple’s assistance, alone, provides more than sufficient grounds to deny the government’s application.
Dieselgate: Volkswagen racing toward deadline
Once around the kitchen
There you are, your week off to a solid start. Catch you tomorrow morning!
She said, ‘There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see.’
But I wandered through my playing cards
and would not let her be
— excerpt, Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum
cover here by Annie Lennox
I’ve been on an Annie Lennox jag, sorry. I’m indulging myself here at the intersection of a favorite song which fit today’s theme and a favorite performer. Some of you will take me to task for not using the original version by Procol Harum, or another cover like Eric Clapton’s. Knock yourselves out; it’s Lennox for me.
Speaking of a whiter shade and truth…
FBI used a ‘gray hat’ to crack the San Bernardino shooter’s phone
Last evening after regular business hours WaPo published a story which made damned sure we knew:
1) The FBI waded into a fuzzy zone to hack the phone — oh, not hiring a ‘black hat’, mind you, but a whiter-shade ‘gray hat’ hacker;
2) Cellebrite wasn’t that ‘gray hat’;
3) The third-party resource was referred to as ‘professional hackers’ or ‘researchers who sell flaws’;
4) FBI paid a ‘one-time fee’ for this hack — which sounds like, “Honest, we only did it once! How could we be pregnant?!
5) A ‘previously unknown software flaw’ was employed after the third-party pointed to it.
This reporting only generated more questions:
• Why the careful wording, ‘previously unknown software flaw’ as opposed to zero-day vulnerability, which has become a term of art?
• How was the determination made that the party was not black or white but gray, and not just a ‘professional hacker who sold knowledges about a flaw they used’? Or was the explanation provided just stenography?
• However did Cellebrite end up named in the media anyhow if they weren’t the source of the resolution?
• What assurances were received in addition to the assist for that ‘one-time fee’?
• Why weren’t known security experts consulted?
• Why did the FBI say it had exhausted all resources to crack the San Bernardino shooter’s phone?
• Why did FBI director Jim Comey say “we just haven’t decided yet” to tell Apple about this unlocking method at all if ‘persons familiar with the matter’ were going to blab to WaPo about their sketchy not-black-or-white-hat approach instead?
That’s just for starters. Marcy’s gone over this latest story, too, be sure to read.
Volkswagen execs get a haircut
Panic among employees and state of Lower Saxony over VW’s losses and anticipated payouts as a result of Dieselgate impelled executives to share the pain and cut their bonuses. Germany’s Lower Saxony is the largest state/municipal shareholder in VW, but it’s doubly exposed to VW financial risks as nearly one in ten Germans are employed in the automotive industry, and VW is the largest single German automotive company. The cuts to bonuses will be retroactive, affecting payouts based on last year’s business performance.
Fuzzy dust bunnies
UPDATE — 12:10 PM EDT —
From @cintagliata via Twitter:
Back in 1971, researchers observed Zika virus replicating in neurons and glia. (in mice) http://bit.ly/1XvsD4d
I’m done with the pesticides-as-causal theory. It may be a secondary exacerbating factor, but not likely primary. In short, we’ve had information about Zika’s destructive effects on the brain and nervous system for 45 years. It’s past time for adequate funding to address prevention, treatments, control of its spread.
It’s all down the hump from here, kids. See you tomorrow morning!
I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
— excerpt, Eye in the Sky by Alan Parsons Project
It’s not like I wanted to haul out all my high school and college music, but they sure seem to work well this week.
Speaking of the eye in the sky…
FBI and DHS circle overhead a LOT
Buzzfeed published its findings after looking into FBI and DHS surveillance flight records, finding a lot of planes circling over mosques. The results also looked at flights immediately after the San Bernardino shooting. You know what would be interesting? Comparing that information against the handling timeline for the Apple iPhone issued to Syed Farouk by his employer.
U.S. dealerships sue Volkswagen – but expand on Dieselgate
Not only are three family-owned dealerships suing VW for its fraudulent use of an emissions control defeat system in their diesel passenger vehicles — they are suing because of VW’s financing practices, which steered money away from dealership’s preferred financing while leaving the dealerships stuck with rapidly depreciated business value. The potential losses to VW just swelled by another magnitude.
Iceland’s new PM expects elections this fall
Rather than dissolving the government, the former Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson’s coalition partners negotiated the appointment of Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson as his replacement after Gunnlaugsson’s Panama Papers-driven resignation. Johannsson said the coalition expects elections this autumn while continuing to focus on working on stability. That’s a nice way of saying the Progressive Party and the Independence Party are stalling for time to avoid a likely rout if elections were held today. Polling indicates the Pirate Party would stomp the other three major parties if a vote was held now.
MP and Official spokesperson of the Pirate Party Birgitta Jónsdóttir was interviewed by Democracy Now! about Iceland’s current political climate. Jonsdottir, a possible contender for PM, explained her country’s reaction to the Panama Papers’ revelations:
…What is in particular disturbing about the prime minister’s conduct in this matter is that the day before new laws took effect in Iceland about how you declare and how tax havens are dealt with, because Iceland is a part of a sort of a campaign, international campaign, to stop tax havens being a part of a solution on how to get away from participating in paying tax in your own country. He signed—his sold his wife his share for one dollar the day before the laws took effect. And that, in itself, seems highly dubious. And then, he has actually been using his wife as a shield and saying that people that are criticizing him are attacking his wife. I actually think that this guy is in some sort of meltdown, because his behavior in the last few days has been so outrageous that it seems like we are stuck in a satire by Dario Fo, you know, in a complete theater of the absurd. And I’m just so deeply humiliated on behalf of my nation that this is what the outside world is looking at. …
The feeling of betrayal is palpable. It’s a good read, do check it out in its entirety.
Wow. It’s coffee break time already? Have at it. Catch you tomorrow morning!
In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
— excerpt, Locksley Hall by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Welcome to spring break. And by break, I mean schedules are broken around here. Nothing like waiting up until the wee hours for a young man whose fancy not-so-lightly turned to love, because spring.
While the teenager lies abed yet, mom here will caffeinate and scratch out a post. It may be early afternoon by the time I get over this spring-induced sleep deprivation and hit the publish button.
Apple blossoms — iPhones and iPads, that is
Not much blooming on the #AppleVsFBI front, where Apple now seeks information about the FBI’s method for breaking into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5C. The chances are slim to none that the FBI will tell Apple anything. Hackday offers a snappy postmortem about this case with an appropriate amount of skepticism.
I wonder what Apple’s disclosure will look like about this entire situation in its next mandatory filing with the SEC? Will iPhone 5C users upgrade to ditch the undisclosed vulnerability?
What if any effect will the iPhone 5C case have on other criminal cases where iPhones are involved — like the drug case Brooklyn? Apple asked for a delay in that case, to assess its position after the iPhone 5C case. We’ll have to wait until April 11 for the next move in this unfolding crypto-chess match.
In the meantime, spring also means baseball, where new business blossoms for Apple. Major League Baseball has now signed with Apple for iPads in the dugout. Did the snafu with Microsoft’s Surface tablets during the NFL’s AFC championship game persuade the MLB to go with Apple?
It’s downhill all the way for VW, which missed last week its court-imposed 30-day deadline to offer a technical solution on its emissions standards cheating “clean diesel” passenger vehicles. If there was such a thing as “clean diesel,” VW would have met the deadline; as I said before, there’s no such thing as “clean diesel” technology. The judge allowed a 30-day extension to April 24, but my money is on another missed deadline. Too bad there’s not a diesel engine equivalent of Cellebrite, willing to offer a quick fix to VW or the court, huh?
Of note: former FBI director Robert Mueller has been named “special master” on this case by Judge Charles Breyer; Mueller has been meeting with all the parties involved. What the heck is a “special master”? We may not have a ready answer, but at least there’s a special website set up for this case, In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” MDL.
The cherry on top of this merde sundae is the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit filed yesterday against VW for false advertising promoting its “clean diesel” passenger cars.
With no bottom yet in sight, some are wondering if VW will simply exit the U.S. market.
Automotive odd lot
Did Tennyson write anything about spring spawning naps? Because I feel like I need one. Hope we’re back in the groove soon. See you in the morning.
1,000 hours of free jazz, ready to download.
Holy mackerel! I almost fainted when @OpenCulture tweeted last week about David W. Niven’s collection shared with the public at Archive.org. Just as amazing is Niven’s commentary, providing context we would never otherwise have about each piece.
I’ll embed some Louis Armstrong at the bottom of this post to get your weekend started. Mark this collection as one of my favorite things ever.
Malware discovered, targeting non-jailbroken Apple iOS devices in China
This is the second China-specific malware that researchers at Palo Alto Networks have found this year. Gee, why China?
UK’s Labour Party wankers want ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ because Snowden
Just the wankers, mind you, though it’s hard to tell which MPs were the wankers as Labour and SNP sat on their hands during the vote for the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB), not wanting to appear obstructive. Fondly called the ‘Snoopers’ Charter,’ the bill replaces Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and passed in the House of Commons on its second reading. The bill allows the UK government to amass all Internet Connection Records (ICRs) for a year’s time, including telecommunications connections. Restrictions on which government entities have access to these records and for what purpose is muddy at best, and the cost of collecting and storing these records will be borne by the network service providers who in turn will need to raise their rates. Sane people understand the IPB as passed is atrocious. The bill would not have passed the second reading at all had all of Labour and the SNP voted against it, but a number of wankers argue Edward Snowden is reason enough to dragnet the entire UK’s internet activity — which makes no sense whatsoever, based on the bill’s current formulation. The ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ now enters the Committee Stage, where it’s hoped somebody catches a cluestick and puts the brakes on this current iteration of government panopticon.
U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FBI warn about automobile hacking
Hmm. A little late to the party after at least four different vulnerabilities were revealed over the last year, but better late than never. Rather annoying the public needs to be on guard against automakers’ naiveté/stupidity/hubris.
Google’s parent Alphabet selling its robot division Boston Dynamics
Remember the creepy four-legged robot ‘Big Dog’? It and its developer are up for grabs. Google (before it became Alphabet) bought Boston Dynamics in 2013, but now finds the firm doesn’t fit its strategy. Worth noting differences in reaction to the news:
The tone of the MIT Review piece — technology’s coolness is sufficient rationale for its creation and existence — offers interesting insight, explaining how awful technology ends up commercialized in spite of its lack of fitness.
Let’s call it a week and get on with our weekend. Have a good one!
Apart from Sri Srinivasan, widely mentioned as the likely nominee, who is a possible candidate? Share your guess and then place your bets on Most-Likely Nominee and offer odds on a recess appointment.
Heads up: Your browsing could put you at risk of ransomware
I suppose the news that really big and popular sites were afflicted by ransomware within the last week explains why I had yet another Adobe-brand update pushed at me. Sites affected included The New York Times, the BBC, MSN, and AOL, along with others running a compromised ad network serving ransomware.
PSA: Make sure all your data files are backed up off your PC, and have access to software to rebuild your machine, in case your device is held for ransom.
#AppleVsFBI: Apple filing in California yesterday
Funny how different the characterizations of the 26-page filing. Here’s two:
Apple’s lawyers tried to lower the temperature in the company’s fight with the US government on Tuesday, telling a federal judge that America’s Justice Department is well-meaning but wrong in its privacy standoff with the iPhone maker.
Zika virus: even uglier than expected
Stray cats, rounded up…
That’s a wrap, for now, furballs all cleaned out of the holding bins. See you tomorrow morning!
We made it to Friday! Yay! And that means another jazz genre. This week it’s shibuya-kei, a sub-genre/fusion born of Japanese jazz. Our sample today is by Kenji Ozawa. Note how damned perky it is, blending jazz elements with pop and synthpop. Its cuteness might also be described as kawaii, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.
Get your mellow on and jazz your Friday up.
Urgent: Update Adobe Flash immediately if you apply patches manually
Go to this Security Bulletin link at Adobe for details. The update fixes 23 vulnerabilities, one or more of which are being used in exploits now though information about attacks are not being disclosed yet. And yes, this past Tuesday was Patch Tuesday, but either this zero-day problem in Flash was not known then, or a solution had not yet been completed, or…whatever. Just make sure you check all your updates, with this Adobe Flash patch at the top of the list.
USDOJ doing its PR thing on #AppleVsFBI
After reports this week that FBI director James Comey was a political liability in the case against Apple, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch appeared on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show to make the case for Apple writing code as requested by USDOJ. She said,
“First of all, we’re not asking for a backdoor, nor are we asking anyone to turn anything on to spy on anyone. We’re asking them to do what their customer wants. The real owner of the phone is the county, the employer, of one of the terrorists who is dead,”
Right. And my iPhone-owning kid wants a ham sandwich — will Apple write an app on demand for that, just because my kid’s the owner of the iPhone?
Look, nearly all software is licensed — the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone may be property of the county that employed him, but the iOS software is property of Apple. Maybe Lynch needs a ham sandwich, too, a little boost in blood sugar to grok this point.
Volkswagen’s Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Week continues
Stray cats and dogs
And just for giggles, note the Irish economy has expanded at fastest rate since 2000. Gee, I wonder what would happen to the Irish economy if major tech companies like Apple moved to Ireland?
I’m out of here — have a great weekend!
After Tuesday’s primaries and last night’s Democratic candidates’ debate, surely something will change in messaging and outreach.
And surely something will change on the other side of the aisle given the continued rampage of ‘Someone With Tiny Hands.”
Calls to mind an animated movie popular with my kids a few years ago.
Volkswagen and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week
I feel like I’m telling a child Santa Claus is a lie and the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist, but it’s important to this scandal to grasp this point: There is no clean diesel technology. There is no clean diesel technology coming any time soon. Invoke a little Marcus Aurelius here and look at this situation and its essential nature, by asking why VW cheated and lied and did so for so long.
Because there is no clean diesel technology.
And the clock is tick-tick-ticking — the court case in California gave VW 30 days to come up with a technical solution. Mark your calendar for March 24, people.
A – Apple, B – Bollocks, C – Cannot…
That’s enough damage for one day. Things have got to change.
Today’s the intersection of my Gwen Stefani jag and International Women’s Day 2016. Need some more estrogen-powered music to celebrate IWD? Try this list — note and compare Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walking against more recent tunes like No Doubt’s Just A Girl.
Volkswagen shocked, SHOCKED! the EPA went public on the diesel emissions standards cheat
But by the time the EPA made public statements regarding VW, the German automaker had already known about the International Council on Clean Transportation’s research results for a year and had yet to reveal to shareholders the risk of prosecution and penalties. VW’s leadership hoped for a mild and quiet slap on the hands and enough time for a technical solution before the EPA’s disclosure:
“In the past, even in the case of so-called ‘defeat device’ infringements, a settlement was reached with other carmakers involving a manageable fine without the breach being made public,” VW argued. “And in this case, the employees of Volkswagen of America had the impression on the basis of constructive talks with the EPA that the diesel issue would not be made public unilaterally but that negotiations would continue.”
Hope somebody is looking at insider trading for any sign that VW executives were unloading stock in the period between September 2014 when ICCT’s results were published, and when the EPA went public in 2015. Wonder what penalties there are under German/EU laws for this?
USDOJ appealed last week’s ruling in Brooklyn iPhone 5S case
At the heart of this appeal is Apple’s past cooperative actions when federal law enforcement asked for assistance in unlocking iPhones. Apple, however, said past acquiescence is not consent. USDOJ has now asked for review of Judge Orenstein’s ruling.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak appeared on Conan, sided unsurprisingly with Apple
Woz admitted to having tried his hand at writing viruses for Mac, but the entire premise terrified him, compelling him to destroyed his efforts. Video of his appearance included at this link.
France to punish phonemakers for encryption, while UK’s GCHQ says it should get around encryption
A narrow body of water, a different language, and a recent terrorist attack make for very different reactions to encrypted communications. France’s Parliament voted yesterday to punish phonemakers which do not cooperate with law enforcement on unencrypting data; the bill is not yet law, subject to further parliamentary process. Meanwhile, Britain’s spy chief said he hopes methods can be developed to get around encryption without building backdoors.
And it’s Presidential Primary Day in Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho, Hawaii. I may avoid social media for most of the day for this reason. Hasta pasta!
It is to laugh. Every decision made by this administration about Flint has been about money, not about the right thing, and not even about the legal thing.
He put his pom-poms down last week long enough to lawyer up, though. Mm-hmm.
By the way, that’s the NSFW version – here’s the language-sanitized clean version of that video for your office space. Crank the volume and bring it.
All around Apple town
Such precedence would likely result in many businesses moving their operations offshore, therefore, making it more difficult for law enforcement to obtain even ordinary assistance from such companies…
“…it’s so disappointing that the FBI, Justice Department and others in law enforcement are pressing us to turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies. …”
And on this day in 1876, U.S. Patent 174,465 for Improvement in Telegraphy was granted to Alexander Graham Bell.
What will they write about this day in another 140 years? Do something worth writing about.