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Encryption Communications Crime Government Privacy Software United States Your Rights Online

Want to Keep Messages From the Feds? Use iMessage 153

Posted by timothy
from the disinformation-brought-to-you-by-the-afl-cia dept.
According to an report at CNET, "Encryption used in Apple's iMessage chat service has stymied attempts by federal drug enforcement agents to eavesdrop on suspects' conversations, an internal government document reveals. An internal Drug Enforcement Administration document seen by CNET discusses a February 2013 criminal investigation and warns that because of the use of encryption, 'it is impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices' even with a court order approved by a federal judge." The article goes on to talk about ways in which the U.S. government is pressuring companies to leave peepholes for law enforcement in just such apps, and provides some insight into why the proprietary iMessage is (but might not always be) a problem for eavesdroppers, even ones with badges. Adds reader adeelarshad82, "It turns out that encryption is only half of the problem while the real issue lies in the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act which was passed in 1994.
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Want to Keep Messages From the Feds? Use iMessage

Comments Filter:
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by T-Bucket (823202) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @03:49PM (#43361387) Homepage

    If I had just figured out how to eavesdrop on imessages, this is JUST the sort of thing I would make public....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 04, 2013 @03:50PM (#43361405)

    ... is also known as a "police state."

  • by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @03:53PM (#43361453)

    A security hole left open for the good guys is also a security hole left open for the bad guys.

  • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @03:53PM (#43361461)
    Hi, let me introduce you to the Patriot Act.
  • Again.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Waveguide04 (811184) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @03:56PM (#43361521)
    PGP all over again. BAN it, it must be evil! How could someone expect to talk to their friends and family without being in the clear for anyone to see. The nerve.
  • Jitsi, Retroshare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @04:10PM (#43361723) Journal

    Don't rely on closed source to keep your secrets. Since we can't verify that the Feds haven't pressured Apple into giving them a back door, we have to assume they have. The article here could easily be propaganda encouraging people to use compromised software.

    Use something like Jitsi or Retroshare if you care about your privacy. Anything else should be considered the equivalent of standing on the street corner with a megaphone.

  • by Assmasher (456699) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @04:11PM (#43361737) Journal

    If I was the feds, that's exactly what I would 'leak' were it easy for me to read iMessages...

  • Re:Seriously now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Old97 (1341297) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @04:14PM (#43361775)
    Technology available to intelligence agencies like NSA is not always made available to law enforcement.
  • Re:Seriously now (Score:4, Insightful)

    by king neckbeard (1801738) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @04:19PM (#43361847)
    It depends on what the meanings of 'enormous breakthrough' and 'unfathomably complex encryption systems' are in this context. I'm sure they can crack encryption much faster with a supercomputer than we can with a nice desktop, but that's not really going to make a difference.
  • Re:Seriously now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @04:21PM (#43361853)

    Technology available to intelligence agencies like NSA is not always made available to law enforcement.

    Exactly, if the NSA does have the ability to crack encryption thought to be uncrackable by the rest of the world, there's no way they'd let that ability be used for any public law enforcement cases -- they'd keep it closely guarded and would only use it for top-secret intelligence gathering.

  • Re:Seriously now (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @04:55PM (#43362431) Homepage Journal

    Oy. That's not how it works. An encrypted message contains something unknown. Any particular spending required to break it occurs prior to knowing what's in it. Once spent, then they know -- and since they *already* spent to break it, there's no need to make any further finance based decisions. If the message contains something they think is of interest, it'll go off to the people who might like to know about it without any particular commentary. This is how it works -- I'm not guessing. Not by some magical choosing of which messages to break because they know what's in them.

    The entire point of any sub rosa organization, be it religious extremists, home grown anarchist bombers, counterfeiters, drug dealers or agents of snooping nations is that they are trying to operate in such a way as to look innocent. So encrypted messages from otherwise innocent looking parties aren't presumed innocent. For that matter, unencrypted messages aren't presumed innocent. This isn't speculation; this is the reality of it. The computers look at everything and if it looks like it's something of interest, it gets kicked upwards.

    As for the prior AC, if you assume they haven't cracked anything in particular, you're making a serious mistake. One they'd very much like you to make.

  • by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @04:56PM (#43362449)

    I know you think you're protecting your rights, but it doesn't mean you aren't facilitating trafficking meth, heroin or the next big thing in soma-jolting chemistry when you advocate for an untappable form of communication.

    Or facilitating free speech in places where saying the wrong thing [] leads to torture and imprisonment [] or worse []. There will always be illegal things, but the greater right to free secure speech, I believe, takes precedence over stopping drugs / child porn / cause of the decade.

    Your right to privacy is actually a proscription against unreasonable use of governmental power. It's not absolute, and it's not guaranteed the 'evil corporation' we all like to whine and bitch about shouldn't be subject to compliance for such measures as reasonable surveillance.

    You means the government that retroactively gives itself powers to invade our rights []? There's not much checks-and-balances going on in America.

    I don't like assuming that there's an unfriendly, obtrusive ear, eye or nose pressed to my privates either, but there are bigger evils out there than the DEA.

    So you're of the opinion that if one has done nothing wrong, one has nothing to hide. How can you enjoy your bread and circuses when your head is buried in the sand?

  • Re:Seriously now (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 04, 2013 @05:09PM (#43362635)

    Until it goes to court, and the NSA has to divulge a $billion decryption program in order to put some clown selling dime bags in jail for 6 months, and simultaneously tell every military and intelligence agency in the world that they need to upgrade.

    Yeah, great trade.

  • Assumptions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @07:24PM (#43364147) Homepage Journal

    1. That the feds are going to spend the resources, which even with the breakthrough is unlikely to be trivial, to crack random suspected drug dealer's communications.
    2. That they're going to risk the very knowledge that they have the capability to slip out
    3. That they aren't the ones dealing the drugs in the first place
    4. That they're going to bother to send in a tip when they're busy with country scale espionage.

The major difference between bonds and bond traders is that the bonds will eventually mature.