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Buffalo News: Congress Must Act to Resolve Issues Between Apple, FBI

congress copyBy Edtorial Board
Buffalo News

One could say that the Justice Department’s finding a way to unlock an iPhone without help from Apple is unfortunate.

To some, it could further delay serious discussion about privacy rights in this age of fast-evolving technology.

Congress needs to face up to its obligation to have this debate and to come to some reasonable conclusion. It needs to balance privacy rights with the increasingly challenging task of keeping the country safe from those who would commit mass murder.

This is a long-standing and continually developing issue, and one that Congress has largely ignored, as technology changes and becomes a tool of terrorists. Fundamentally, the law has not kept pace with science. But the need for a response is plain, even if the answers are difficult.

More and more Americans keep personal information, sometimes sensitive information, on their smartphones. Constitutionally, they have a right to privacy.

Yet the ability to monitor terrorists, who value body counts above all else, is also tied to technology, as is the investigation of crimes such as the San Bernardino, Calif., massacre that prompted this confrontation.

Both sides have compelling cases, which is a prescription for court action. It would be better for Congress to debate and resolve these questions.

Privacy advocates say they will keep the issue at the forefront, but the Justice Department has withdrawn its legal effort to compel Apple to unlock an iPhone and, in so doing, assist in an investigation of a mass shooting.

The phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino killers, Syed Rizwan Farook, may contain information about where he and his wife, an accomplice in that horrific attack in which 14 people died, may have traveled, who they contacted or any further plots.

Group to Justice Department: Donald Trump Bribed Ben Carson for Endorsement

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did Donald Trump illegally promise Ben Carson a position in his administration in exchange for endorsing the GOP frontrunner?

A group tied to Hillary Clinton supporters filed a complaint with the Justice Department that alleges Trump bribed Carson for the endorsement, the Hill reports. 

“It has recently come to light that Mr. Donald Trump may have willfully offered Dr. Ben Carson an appointment to his administration should he become president in return for supporting his candidacy,” wrote Brad Woodhouse, head of the American Democracy Legal Fund.

“ADLF respectfully requests that you investigate this matter and take all appropriate action as soon as possible,” Woodhouse wrote.

Carson told Newsmax earlier this month that he would serve in an “advisory capacity” for the Trump administration, if Trump is elected.

“Again, I’m not going to reveal any details about it right now because all of this is still very liquid,” Carson said.

Woodhouse wrote that “Dr. Carson’s comments strongly suggest that Mr. Trump promised him an administration position in return for his endorsement.”

Secret Service: No Guns Will Be Allowed inside Republican National Convention

GOP elephantBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service plans to stop any plans to allow guns at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, 12News reports. 

The Secret Service made its position clear after a petition with 45,000 signatures demanded that Quicken Loans Arena, end its ban on possessing firearms.

“This is a direct affront to the Second Amendment and puts all attendees at risk,” the petition states.

The Secret Service responded that only law enforcement will be permitted to posses guns inside the event.

“Individuals determined to be carrying firearms will not be allowed past a predetermined outer perimeter checkpoint, regardless of whether they possess a ticket to the event,” Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback told the Hill. 

GOP frontrunner said he plan to read the petition before making a position on the ban.

“I want to see what it says. I want to read the fine print,” said Trump, who reiterated that he is “a very, very strong person for Second Amendment.”

Other Stories of Interest

Weekend Series on Crime: A Mafia Killer

Texas Hospice Owner Accused of Texting Execution Orders for Patients

Novus Health Care Services CEO Brad Harris.

Novus Health Care Services CEO Brad Harris.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The owner of a Texas Hospice is accused of ordering nurses to kill patients who have “been on the hospice service for too long,” the FBI alleges.

Brad Harris, owner and CEO of Novus Health Care Services, is accused of texting execution orders to nurses, The Daily Beast reports.

“You need to make this patient go bye-bye,” Harris texted one his nurses, according to an FBI search warrant affidavit.

Harris said of another patient, “If this fuck would just die,” according to the Feb. 5 affidavit.

The FBI alleges that Harris ordered nurses to administer overdoses to four patients who had “been on the hospice service for too long.”

In one text to a nurse, Harris allegedly instructed a nurse to increase “the patient’s medication dosage to approximately four times the maximum allowed.”

Other Stories of Interest

Independent: How FBI’s iPhone Hack ‘Made Us All Vulnerable’

Apple logoBy Gus Hosien
The Independent

Since the horrific Brussels and Istanbul attacks we’ve all looked at our daily lives and saw vulnerability and risk. Where else could terrorists attack?

We begin to formulate security responses. CCTV, communication, surveillance, identity cards – they aren’t panning out. Perhaps we need to take things to the next level? How about we build an uber anti-terrorism system that grinds all our data together and identifies the people who wish to do us harm?

That uber-system has been built: it’s your smart phone. Health information? Apple Watch and other fitness trackers record your heart rate throughout the day. Financial information? Apple Pay and Google Wallet process your purchases. Locations? Your phone has recorded them all. Biometrics? You probably recorded your fingerprint, along with enough selfies too.

The FBI claimed that the iPhone, along with all of this information was impregnable. It decided to take Apple to court in order to access the phone – owned by the employers of Syed Rizwan Farook – one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino terrorist attack in December.

This was a great PR coup for Apple. Apple’s systems were perceived as out of reach to the most powerful technology force in the history of humanity: the US Government’s intelligence and law enforcement community. However someone found vulnerability in Apple’s old mobile phone operating system, iOS8, and the agency has now admitted that it has accessed the device. The FBI has announced that it will not inform the tech firm how it breached the phone’s security features leaving millions of devices compromised.

To read more click here. 

FBI Unsure Whether It Can Unlock iPhone in Arkansas Murder Case

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Arkansas prosecutor suggested this week that FBI agents would help hack into a locked iPhone and iPod of two teenagers accused of killing a couple.

The FBI responded that it’s unsure it can crack the devices, backing away from the prosecutor’s statements, ABC News reports.

While the FBI said it’s not ruling out the possibility, the bureau said it hasn’t learned enough about the devices to know definitively whether it can help.

At issue is whether the FBI can use the technique it employed to access a locked iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

“At the time of the request, no information was provided regarding the device models or operating systems, so FBI Little Rock was not able to state if they would be able to provide assistance. The FBI does not currently have possession of the devices,” the agency wrote. “The FBI’s handling of this request is not related to the San Bernardino matter.”

The FBI has not divulged how it opened the San Bernardino phone.

Four of Clinton’s Top Aides Using Same Attorney in Case of Private E-Mail Server

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Four of Hillary Clinton’s closet aides are using the same attorney to represent them in the case of the former secretary of state’s private e-mail server.

It’s an unusual legal strategy that suggests the aides are telling investigators the same story, Politico reports. 

The lawyer is Beth Wilkinson, a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Legal experts said the unique strategy carries risks if the four aides end up with different interests.

The FBI plans to soon begin interview top Clinton aides, and the quartet may be among them.

“The premise of employing the same counsel is that they believe there is not likely to be a situation where they start pointing a finger at one another to save their own skins — or perhaps at Secretary Clinton,” said Dan Metcalfe, founding director of the DOJ’s office of information and privacy. “And there’s a sense that if one of them goes down, they all go down. It shows they think they can coordinate the defense to everyone’s benefit.”