The Case Against Apple

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, file photo, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, right, joined by Sheriff John McMahon, speaks during a news conference in San Bernardino, Calif. In a brief filed in federal court Thursday, March 4, 2016, by DA Ramos' Office cites two 911 calls reporting three perpetrators during the attack. The district attorney's brief is among many weighing in on the fight between Apple and the federal government over unlocking the county-owned iPhone used by shooter Syed Farook. He and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, died in a gun battle with police following the Dec. 2 attack. (John Valenzuela/The Sun via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

Ever heard of a “dormant cyber pathogen”? Me neither. And a Google search shows that the only instances of that phrase being used all pertain to just a single story — that the San Bernardino District Attorney “speculates” that there might just be one of these make-believe gremlins hidden on Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone:


The curious claim appears in an amicus brief filed by Michael Ramos with a California court on Thursday. In the document, Ramos speculates that the iPhone used by terror suspect Syed Rizwan Farook “may contain evidence that can only be found on the seized phone that it was used as a weapon to introduce a lying dormant cyber pathogen that endangers San Bernardino’s infrastructure.”

The apparent threat is cited as a violation of California Penal Code Section §502, covering protections against tampering, interference, damage and unauthorized access to computer systems. The reference suggests Ramos believes that some sort of malware may be contained on the iPhone, but offers no justification for the claim, nor the odd nature of its wording.

“It sounds like he’s making up these terms as he goes,” said iPhone forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski, speaking to Ars Technica about the filing. “We’ve never used these terms in computer science.” Zdziarski believes that the amicus is simply designed to mislead the courts and manipulate a decision in the FBI’s favor. “It offers no evidence whatsoever that the device has, or even might have, malware on it. It offers no evidence that their network was ever compromised.”


What a horsecrap amicus brief.

If the government had a better case against Apple, it wouldn’t resort to baseless fear-mongering.


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