FBI Sued For iPhone Hacking Details

FBI Sued For iPhone Hacking Details

Three major news groups are suing the FBI for iPhone hacking details regarding the San Bernardino shooting.

On Sept. 16, the Associated Press (AP), USA Today and Vice news networks filed a collective lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for details about the FBI's controversially successful hack of the iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino shooters.

The three major news agencies are pressing charges to determine what sources the FBI used to crack the iPhone's code and how much government money was involved. The FBI refused to supply answers and claimed exemption from doing so under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a law which grants every citizen the right to access the records of any federal agency.

The FBI's investigation of the San Bernardino shooters probed for ties to other terrorist groups – namely, ISIS.

However, the lawsuit complaint reveals that "investigators long ago stated that they had uncovered no connection between the shooters and any foreign terrorist groups."

The news organizations are demanding answers for the public, whose taxpayer funds were used to hire an unidentified third-party vendor to hack the iPhone.

According to the lawsuit, the FBI sanctioned the third-party to "retain this potentially dangerous technology without any public assurance about what that vendor represents, whether the vendor has adequate security measures...is a proper recipient of government funds, or whether it will act only in the public interest."

The FBI cracked the iPhone code in late March with the help of unidentified, low-profile "researchers" who were paid a one-time flat fee of over at least a million dollars, reports The Washington Post and Reuters. The Department of Justice then dropped their legal case with Apple on March 28. The legal battle had ensued on the grounds of the All Writs Act which enabled the government to order Apple's cooperation on the basis that there were no other alternative methods to unlocking the iPhone. Apple had and continues to object the request to build a backdoor feature in the iPhone because it would set a dangerous precedent.

But as it turns out, there is an alternative method to hacking the iPhone. CNET suggests possible methods, such as NAND mirroring, software flaw exploits or lasering the passcode chip. According to CNN, the Department of Justice refused to share details of the hack and did not confirm whether this method works on other devices, but it has been established that whatever method was used did indeed crack the code on the shooters' iPhone 5C which ran a version of the iOS 9 software.

And now that the FBI has hacked the iPhone system, what's stopping them from using the same technique on other phones with similar software?

TechCrunch reasons that if the FBI "found a software exploit, this exploit should work with all iPhones running on this version of iOS 9 (and most likely the current version of iOS, iOS 9.3) — even those with a Secure Enclave and a Touch ID sensor. It’s like the government wants to make sure it can ask Apple to unlock other phones in the future."

So it's no wonder the American public is in a panic, especially since the U.S. government hasn't proven itself as all that trustworthy or dependable over the recent years.

From the 2013 National Security Agency (NSA) scandal to North Korea's cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014 to China's 2015 cyberattacks on American networks and now this, the government has continually failed to secure and protect the American people's privacy from both dishonest government agencies and foreign threats.

Nonetheless, in regards to the FBI's iPhone hack case, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told USA Today that the Obama administration has "tried to be as transparent as possible," but "given the sensitive nature of the information, we’ve been quite limited in what we can discuss openly."

So for now, the public is still being kept in the dark about the case.

Cover Image Credit: NBC

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Mass Shootings And Masculinity Go Hand In Hand

What we're not talking about.

Nineteen mass shootings. Nineteen mass shootings have happened since January 2018 and we’re only in the middle of February. This past shooting at Parkland high school really hit me hard. As I saw the victims of the shooting they reminded me of the kids that I went to high school with. One of the victims was apart of her high school’s color guard and I thought about how much I loved guard when I was in high school. I connected with her.

I saw the videos posted on Snapchat of what the students actually experienced and shed tears with my hand covering my mouth from shock. I saw how insanely graphic the scene was and how being there physically can traumatize one for the rest of their life. No one should have to go through this.

The debates on tv include those of gun control and mental health. On social media, different countries are being thrown around as examples for both stricter gun control, and the allowance for more guns. I also see how the shooter was seen as “mentally ill”, and the stigmatization of those who have mental health issues are dangerous is furthered. The one issue that no one is talking about that plays a huge role in these mass shootings in masculinity.

A large majority of these shooters are white men. While these shootings are also a racial issue I’m going to focus on the gender issue. From a young age, men are exposed to what society deems as masculine. Media hypermasculinized everything to the point where it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Look up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and see how ridiculously buff they are. They’re cartoon turtles, yet the societal standard of masculinity applies to them.

Even when it comes to toys the commercials for nerf and water guns show only males. Showing that guns are masculine. Young boys are raised to engage in masculine activities or they’re isolated socially and emotionally. Even when young men are engaging in “masculine” activities they still may not be good enough. Getting angry, being the bad boy, having a temper are seen as “cool” traits that males desire to have in order to give themselves an edge.

Now most young boys go through this, and masculinity is not the main factor in mass shootings but it is still a factor. It is a factor that we need to consider because eliminating any factor that helps to produce a mass shooter can help save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

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Analyzing The Situation In South Africa

South Africa is in a tenuous position after President Jacob Zuma resigns from office.

Countries across the world were surprised this Valentine’s Day by sudden news out of South Africa. President Jacob Zuma, also head of his own party, the African National Congress, resigned after being mired in a corruption scandal for weeks.

As a politician, Zuma has been no stranger to controversy, having earned for himself the nickname, “The Teflon President,” due to his ability to dodge backlash from multiple scandals throughout his presidency. Why then, did he feel the need to resign?

Zuma faced pressure from the members of the ANC, calling for him to step down after numerous scandals continued to destroy the credibility of the party and undermine support. Some of the scandals include Zuma’s refusal to repay millions in public funds that were spent on refurbishing his lavish homestead. He has also faced criticism and scrutiny in the decades since a controversial arms deal back in the 1990s.

Opposition party leader and longtime critic of Zuma, Mmusi Maimane, stated his relief at the President’s resignation, saying that Zuma has long been, “…a one-man wrecking ball to our economy, our country.”

Maimane also stated his party’s intent to put forward a candidate shortly to oppose acting president Cyril Ramaphosa, who Maimane’s Democratic Alliance views as an unworthy and incorrect choice to lead South Africa.

South Africa’s future is altogether uncertain and the situation has likely confused many countries around the world, leaving them unsure as to what the outcome will be. Only time will tell and the country is sure to struggle with its leadership in the coming weeks.

It will be up to the citizens of South Africa to remain calm, focused, and secure in their beliefs during the current situation.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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