The DOJ’s Bully Pulpit

February 20, 2016

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The DOJ's Bully Pulpit

Patricia A. Donahue, Tracy L. Wilkison and Allen W. Chiu, the Assistant United States Attorneys who want Apple Incorporated to hack it’s own product, the iPhone, filed a motion yesterday to compel the tech company to obey.

The motion is oblivious to the ever diminishing influence of former Associate Justice Louis Brandeis on American law. Brandeis, for whom the university in Massachusetts was named, remains one of the most quoted of all Supreme Court Justices. “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding,” Brandeis warned. “Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent.”

Brandeis may be most famous for a few lines from his dissenting opinion in a 1928 wiretapping case called Olmstead v. United States. “The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness,” Brandeis warned the America that might someday be. “They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone – the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.”

Donahue, Wilkison and Chiu spit on your steenking “right to be let alone.”

Comply Or Else

They accuse Apple of being greedy for refusing to do what they want, which is to provide a way for nosy policemen and petty despots everywhere to defeat the encryption features on Apple’s smart phone. The government wants to rummage through the contents of a company phone used by dead San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook. Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, murdered 14 people and wounded 22 others last December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. It was almost certainly a terrorist act of jihad on behalf of Muslim fanatics on the other side of the globe. Farook and Malik destroyed their personal phones and computers before they died. It is possible but unlikely that the phone the government wants Apple to hack contains information pertinent to either the couple’s personal jihad or the ongoing jihad against modernity and Western Civilization at large.

The government thinks it should regularly be allowed to invade any private space, tangible or metaphorical, if it only first cries the magic words “national security.” And it thinks it would be a trivial matter for Apple to act as the government’s accomplice. In a motion filed last Tuesday, the government lawyers explained that they were merely asking Apple to modify its operating system. “Modifying an operating system,” the government argues with the great, glacial serenity of a psychopath, “writing software code is not an unreasonable burden for a company that writes software code as part of its regular business. In fact, providers of electronic communications services and remote computing services are sometimes required to write code in order to gather information in response to subpoenas or other process.”

1977 Case

The government motion’s basis in case law rests on a 1977 Supreme Court decision in the matter of US v. New York Telephone Company. The government wanted to wiretap a bookie and the phone company refused to help. Justice Byron “Whizzer” White, writing for the majority, thought that New York Telephone, “a highly regulated public utility with a duty to serve the public, was not so far removed as a third party from the underlying controversy that its assistance could not permissibly be compelled by the order of the court based on a probable-cause showing that respondent’s facilities were being illegally used on a continuing basis.”

In their dissent, Justices Stevens, Brennan and Marshall argued that “for one who thinks of federal courts as courts of limited jurisdiction, the Court’s decision is difficult to accept. The principle of limited federal jurisdiction is fundamental; Never is it more important than when a federal court purports to authorize and implement the secret invasion of an individual’s privacy.”

The government’s motion plays broadly to the mob. “Apple’s current refusal to comply with the Court’s Order despite the technical feasibility of doing so instead appears to be based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy,” the government’s lawyers write. “Apple appears to object based on a combination of a perceived negative impact on its reputation and marketing strategy were it to provide the ordered assistance to the  government, numerous mis-characterizations of the requirements of the Order, and an incorrect understanding of the All Writs Act.”


There are 35 pages of this calumny and it is already working. Yesterday afternoon Presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a boycott of Apple products. “Boycott Apple until such time as they give that information,” Trump told an audience in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina near Myrtle Beach.

“Apple ought to give the security for that phone, Okay, he continued. “What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such a time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought of it. Boycott Apple.”

“The phone’s not even owned by this young thug that killed all these people. The phone’s owned by the government, Okay? It’s not even his phone. But (Apple CEO) Tim Cook is looking to do a big number, probably to show how liberal he is. But Apple should give up, they should get the security or find other people.”


21 Responses to “The DOJ’s Bully Pulpit”

  1. xplor Says:

    Apple will find a way to get the information the FBI wants without causing their stock prices to drop. Who is apples biggest customer? The Iphone in question was bought and paid for with your tax dollars.
    Like all corporations, Apple has their nose in the government trough.

  2. xplor Says:

    The FBI screwed up and changed the password on the Iphone cloud account. Now they have locked themselves out and need help. Wake up to the fact that no one has security anymore. Check out Camp Williams in Bluffdale Utah .

  3. Phuquehed Says:

    In our 693rd issue:

    * It’s Not Just About Apple. It’s About All of Us.

    Note: In most issues of EFFector, we give an overview of all the work we’re doing at EFF right now. This week, we present a deep dive on the FBI’s fight with Apple over its customers’ privacy.

    A U.S. federal magistrate judge has ordered Apple to
    undermine the security of an iPhone that was used by one of the perpetrators of December’s San Bernardino shootings. If carried out, the order would compromise the security of every Apple customer in the world. Fortunately, Apple is fighting back and standing up for its users, and EFF is filing an amicus brief in support of Apple’s position.

    Read more:

  4. Meh Says:

    The next logical data security method after wiping is internal device destruction.

    Electronic “fuses” at semiconductor level are old news. They could be offered as an “ultra brick” feature.

    For example it’s standard to expect your device to be searched if you are a legit business traveler in some countries. It may also be stolen. The price of a device is trivial compared to proprietary information on it, so brick after wipe (or brick while wiping, depending on how the storage is addressed, I’m not a computer engineer) could sell MANY devices.

  5. roach Says:

    I personally am not one bit afraid of al quieda, isil, islam, li’l Kim, or any other threats the media bangs their drum over . I do have to admit though, the militarized police force, and the undercover agency the urine odor does sound some alarms, but they’re here, so they can be harshly dealt with.

  6. roach Says:

    When this shit broke, the S. C. GOP debate was on CNN shortly afterward. I channel surfed back and forth to catch the first question Anderson Cooper, which is Gloria Vanderbuilts son, go figger, aksed these candidates about what needed to happen about Apple working with the FBI. Every single one said it was a “touchy” subject, but they needed to go ahead and help. Now I was considering my vote for one of these, and if just one of them would have said “Hell No”, it would have sealed the deal. They can not force a private company to work for the feds. No way, no how.


  7. 55 Says:

    The govt already has any and all access to any and every thing electronic. Their tactic was to target one key engineer in particular and relevant roles and either bribe or threaten the engineer and voila they got back door access. Been going on since the beginning. The show and tell with Apple is to let the Chinese and terrorists continue to think their iphones are not vulnerable and, hence still safe so the govt can continue to siphen info looking for larger, empirical threats. The govt will sacrifice some battles to win the war. That is not to say all alphabet agencies have access, or even know such access exists, but NOTHING electronic is out of reach to certain elements of the govt. And law enforcement is not necessarily the focus (aside from Obama’s using such intelligence and law enforcement elements to crush his critics/ dissenters). Preventing international war is the focus.

  8. ghost Says:

    I think that “The Donald” is the best candidate considering who is running for prez. Hillary Clinton in my opinion is the worst. I also believe that it almost doesn’t matter because our government is controlled by the banking industry. I do agree with Rebel though on this story. Apple as a matter of honor should fight this as much and as far as it can. Fuck the government, fuck Hillary Clinton, and fuck Apple if they cave into this “Request”

  9. Parsifal Says:

    Hillary? Chillary ….. anybody that would vote for her is one messed up individual. Female Satan incarnate…. we should figure in an exorcism any day now. 2 party system doesn’t work….. actually we do not need another King or Queen either.

  10. Sieg Says:


    ummmmm…lemme think about that for a minute.

    I’d rather have Trump fucking things up than ANY of the fucking communist-shitbags running around him. It’s gonna come down to him vs either Hitlery or Bernie Stalin, and I can’t believe the Demicans are stupid enough to run Bernie.

    At least Trump isn’t a trough-politrixian, as is each and every one of the other candidates. Precisely the reason why the media and the big corporations hate him-they can’t buy him.

    Bottom line, the elections are a sham, the two-partei system is simply a ruse to keep the sheeple quiet, and The Only Solution Is Another Revolution. But until then, I’ll vote for whoever will do the most harm to the system, and the least harm to the individual…and I know for damn sure that ain’t Hillary.

  11. Bubblehead Says:

    Phuquehed Says:
    February 20, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    This is what’s filling our government up…minds of simpletons who can only see ‘Us vs Them’, just like 99.9% of the pigs in this nation. The stupidity level of anyone going into office or to be a fedtard pig of some sort or just anyone who thinks that it’s all about being able to ‘boss’ people around, is getting worse by the day it seems . . .

    You are really on to the crux of the issue!

  12. PJ Says:

    The system is past fixing. It only attracts like-minded folks at this point. It is designed in a way to make you either rely on it for help (welfare), work for it (various agencies of govt), or work for those who own and control it (corporations).

    Everyone else that would not prefer one of these options is left with an uphill battle to take care of their families.

    It doesn’t matter who we vote for now, because all we are going to get is more of the same. It is sad, because at one point, serving your country in whatever capacity was noble. Now?

  13. Lost Cause Says:

    Thanks for the link, rollinnorth.

    So this adds more confirmation that the Fed’s request has NOTHING to do with the San B shooting. NOTHING. The phone is question isn’t even an iPhone 6 with the encryption, its a 5c WITHOUT encryption. Their smokescreen of “national security” is just a very public ploy on the terror-struck Joe Citizen’s ‘merican duty to do what’s best to protect the red-white-and-blue.

    Trump shoots from the hip. Someone can say “hotdogs cause cancer” and he’d blurt “boycott Oscar Mayer!” without any insight or investigation. Do you really want that (lack of) mindset having access to “the button”? Nukes will be dropping…… Boycott Apple? No, boycott Trump.

  14. rollinnorth Says:

    “FBI confirmed it screwed up and reset San Bernardino shooter’s iCloud password”

  15. Brad H Says:


    How you describe that guy can be simplified: sociopath.

    The government formed under a sociopath: fascism.

    The alphabet gangs love fascism. Nobody allowed to disagree with their rules. No free will. No choices. Simply put, exactly what’s now occurring with the Apple case. How dare anyone disagree with their need to crack encryption, no mater if it’s a dead terrorist or the illegally confiscated phone of one of the Waco detainees. How dare “The Aging Rebel” want to have a website that not only disagrees with their propaganda, but allows others to post like minded opinions while resisting brute force attacks from their minions!

    We are continually harangued by banks and the present government to protect our personal information using sophisticated passwords, unless “national security” is invoked. Then, all bets are off. And of course, we should just trust the agencies involved will only use these code breakers to protect us. In a pigs ass they will!

    Don’t misunderstand me. The murdering fucks in San Bernidino deserve a special place in hell having sex three times a day with pigs ( or cops, whichever come first). I’m just not for giving up any more than has been taken to date.


  16. Dirty Dingus McGee Says:


    While longer pass codes are always a good ides, Apple included a “self destruct” feature starting with the iPhone 5. if turned on using a minimum of a six digit pass code, you can only enter an incorrect pass code 10 times, over a several hour period, before the phone will wipe all data, contacts, pictures, messages, EVERYTHING, off the phone.

    I suspect it could in some way be retrieved from a wiped phone, because we know that nothing is ever fully erased, only “over written”.

    THAT is what the gubmint wants Apple to defeat.

  17. jimmytheclaw Says:

    what the feds actually want is for apple to give them a way to turn of the main security feature that after 5 or 10 password fails the phone will wipe all data. the feds pinky swear that if apple builds such a tool it will only be used on this one phone. apple shouldnt need to be forced to re-engineer their software with zero compensation to build a tool that once turned over will get loose compromising every apple product with this security feature. also the password was changed by someone after the phone was found and they claimed the new password is lost i call bullshit feds just want to buypass the one thing that prevents a brute force hack attempt. think about it i get pulled over and my iphone gets grabbed if they put in the wrong pin or passcode 5 or 10 times the phone turns into a brick and they want to avoid that

  18. Phuquehed Says:

    This is what’s filling our government up…minds of simpletons who can only see ‘Us vs Them’, just like 99.9% of the pigs in this nation. The stupidity level of anyone going into office or to be a fedtard pig of some sort or just anyone who thinks that it’s all about being able to ‘boss’ people around, is getting worse by the day it seems.

  19. ts Says:

    I was reading that using an 11 digit passcode might be a good idea:

    “So the FBI is stuck using your iPhone to test passcodes. And it turns out that your iPhone is kind of slow at that: iPhones intentionally encrypt data in such a way that they must spend about 80 milliseconds doing the math needed to test a passcode, according to Apple. That limits them to testing 12.5 passcode guesses per second, which means that guessing a six-digit passcode would take, at most, just over 22 hours.

    You can calculate the time for that task simply by dividing the 1 million possible six-digit passcodes by 12.5 per seconds. That’s 80,000 seconds, or 1,333 minutes, or 22 hours. But the attacker doesn’t have to try each passcode; she can stop when she finds one that successfully unlocks the device. On average, it will only take 11 hours for that to happen.

    But the FBI would be happy to spend mere hours cracking your iPhone. What if you use a longer passcode? Here’s how long the FBI would need:

    seven-digit passcodes will take up to 9.2 days, and on average 4.6 days, to crack
    eight-digit passcodes will take up to three months, and on average 46 days, to crack
    nine-digit passcodes will take up to 2.5 years, and on average 1.2 years, to crack
    10-digit passcodes will take up to 25 years, and on average 12.6 years, to crack
    11-digit passcodes will take up to 253 years, and on average 127 years, to crack”


    also interesting
    “And while a local police officer can’t search your iPhone without a warrant, cops have used their own digital devices to get search warrants within 15 minutes, as a Supreme Court opinion recently noted.”

  20. Thunderbird Says:

    What makes Trump a dangerous choice for President is he is out of touch with his feeling mind. That is why he is in agreement with the government on this issue. In regard to other issues one only needs to listen to him to see that he is a binary thinker; just like the government and the justice system for that matter.

    We need men in government that are process thinkers with a vision for the country. What is Trump’s vision for this country? To make it great again? What does that mean? What is the vision in this greatness? He does not explain that.

    But we do know the vision the government has for the country. It is demonstrated in it’s actions. POLICE STATE. Control of the individual. It is the binary reaction to it’s failed policies. Policies put in place by people who have no feeling minds.

    A change of mind has to happen in the people before a change in the direction of government can happen. People with feeling minds have to enter government service. We have to get binary thinking out of Washington, the legislatures, city councils, and most definitely out of the justice system. This will not be easy but it can be done providing people take responsibility for their own actions which will lead them to demand responsibility from those sworn to serve the needs of the public. It is not us and them. We are all one people called humanity.

  21. Paladin Says:

    The government’s latest Constitutional terror attack is similar to their ongoing attack on the Second Amendment, which like all government attacks, is couched in the government’s claim of what’s “reasonable”.

    The government’s favorite weapon, when going after an individual, is to lay siege to one’s finances through direct confiscation, or forcing one into making a deal through protracted litigation. In Apple’s case the Government will pit their nine supposedly learned individuals that make up the Supreme Court, against the finest litigators Apple can buy. In the end, it will come down to nothing more than a politically and ideologically biased Supreme Court vote.

    When enough friction is applied to combustible materials, the result is fire. The government is working very hard at starting a fire it will have no hope of controlling.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


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