FBI Allegedly Cracks Terrorist’s Phone, Ending Fight with Apple (for Now)

by Scott Shackford – The Senate is still interested in legislation that could weaken everybody’s security It appears as though a major court battle over whether the federal government can force Apple to weaken its iPhone security in order to assist in data gathering is not going to happen. That doesn’t, however, mean this larger conflict is remotely over. The FBI had gone to the courts to try to use the All Writs Act to force Apple to help it weaken the security of the work iPhone of Syed Farook, one of the terrorists who launched the deadly attack in San Bernardino, California. Apple resisted on the grounds that it wasn’t possible to weaken the security on just one phone—doing so would weaken the security on everybody’s phones. The FBI asked for a delay on the court fight last week because it may have figured out a way to break the...

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The Encryption Fight We Knew Was Coming Is Here—and Apple Appears Ready

by Scott Shackford – Company will not compromise user security to help access terrorist’s phone   We have one massive test case for Apple’s commitment to end-to-end encryption on its smart phones in the dock. Syed Farook, one of the terrorists responsible for killing 14 people in San Bernardino, California, had a locked iPhone, and the FBI has not been able to access its contents. So they’re trying to get help from Apple, and they’ve turned to a judge to try to force the company’s assistance. This week a judge sided with the FBI, ordering Apple to not exactly create a back door to bypass its encryption, but pretty damn close. The judge has ordered Apple to assist the FBI by making it possible to bypass or deactivate the auto-erase function that deletes the contents of the phone after too many failed password attempts; to allow the FBI to electronically submit...

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Trump: Muslims Knew About San Bernardino Shooters But Didn’t Report Them

by AVIVA SHEN – Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump elaborated Monday evening on his recent proposal that Muslim Americans monitor each other and report suspicious activity, claiming Muslims knew about but failed to report the radicalized couple that shot up a government center in San Bernardino, California. According to NPR reporter Asma Khalid, Trump told rally attendees in Nashua, New Hampshire that “there’s something going on” with Muslims and “their culture.” “These people in California, people knew he had bombs all over the floor, people knew it, why didn’t they turn him in?” he asked. Follow Asma Khalid Wanted to make sure I hadn’t misheard Donald Trump’s Muslim comments, so transcribing that section here. Trump has refocused his campaign from anti-Latino bigotry to anti-Muslim bigotry in recent months, proposing a database of Muslims in America and a ban on all Muslims entering the country. Monday’s comments were building off his...

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Cruz Blames ‘Political Correctness’ For San Bernardino. The FBI Says He’s Wrong

by ESTHER YU-HSI LEE – During the GOP presidential debate on Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a Republican presidential candidate, accused the Obama administration of failing to track two shooters ahead of their deadly rampage in San Bernardino, California in early December because of “political correctness.” “It’s not a lack of competence that is preventing the Obama administration from stopping these attacks,” Cruz said on Wednesday. “It is political correctness. We didn’t monitor the Facebook posting of the female San Bernardino terrorist because the Obama DHS thought it would be inappropriate. She made a public call to jihad, and they didn’t target it.” Contrary to previous reports, even if the government had monitored the Facebook postings of Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, the two perpetrators of the shooting, the agency likely wouldn’t have found anything. The Federal Bureau of Investigations revealed Wednesday that...

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Sandy Hook Senator: It’s Not Congress’ Job To Pray

by EMILY ATKIN –   In the days after a deranged young man fatally shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) was grateful for any thoughts and prayers directed toward his community. “Having lived through the Sandy Hook experience, I know that thoughts and prayers are important,” he told ThinkProgress on Friday. “We appreciated them from every corner of the globe.” But four years later, following yet another mass shooting committed by a couple whose guns were purchased legally, the Connecticut senator has had enough of prayer — at least when it comes from his Senate colleagues. On Wednesday, hours after the massacre in San Bernardino, Murphy sent out a tweet condemning the many members of Congress who publicly offered “thoughts and prayers” for victims of Wednesday’s massacre in Sen Bernardino. Murphy subsequently went viral. News outlets like CNN, Vox, the...

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The BBC’s Distressingly Accurate Intro To The San Bernardino Shooting

by ZACK FORD – The BBC opened its coverage of the ongoing San Bernardino mass shooting Wednesday evening by acknowledging a fairly alarming reality: “Just another day in the United States of America, another day of gunfire, panic, and fear.” Watch it: The quip is painfully accurate. As ThinkProgress has already pointed out, there have been 355 mass shootings this year in the United States, more than one for every day of the year that has passed so far. But the commentary inherent in the BBC segment also speaks to how the United States is unique in this regard. In fact, the United States is the world leader when it comes to mass shootings. Despite having 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. is home to 31 percent of the world’s mass shootings since 1966. A number of factors seem to contribute to this, but the high rate of...

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