[Noisebridge-discuss] FBI, stumped by pimp's Android pattern lock, serves warrant on Google

Taylor Alexander tlalexander at gmail.com
Sat Apr 21 23:14:42 UTC 2012

Oh I agree there are sadly innumerable examples of the state overreaching
its power, especially lately as the vast amount of information available on
people and the stealth with which they can request it has tempted those
that would have a tendency to abuse power (which seems to be all of them).
And I've read a bit about how you and others have worked to expose that and
fight it, which is think is awesome, honorable, and sorely needed. I was
just hoping to clarify for people that skipped the article that this
particular incident didn't, in my opinion, appear to be another example of
that abuse of power. It is however interesting any time we can get more
information on how the government requests data from tech companies, and
how they comply. It was nice to see that Google's statement in this case
did take time to mention "the spirit of the law" and affirm that they at
least are aware of the importance of narrowing "overly broad" requests.
"Like all law-abiding companies, we comply with valid legal process.
Whenever we receive a request we make sure it meets both the letter and
spirit of the law before complying. If we believe a request is overly
broad, we will seek to narrow it."

On Sat, Apr 21, 2012 at 3:48 PM, Jake <jake at spaz.org> wrote:

> On Sat, 21 Apr 2012, Taylor Alexander wrote:
>> Well, its an interesting article about Android's security. I would agree
>> that the ideal security situation would be if Google was unable to provide
>> access to that information. But then the government would probably
>> introduce
>> and pass a bill that simply made doing that illegal. That would be
>> interesting...
> the government already walks a fine line of passing unenforceable laws and
> thus diluting its credibility.  There are probably already laws
> criminalizing the use of such encryption that we have forgotten about, and
> which the government wisely avoids mention of because they reveal quite
> starkly that the emperor wears no clothes.
> Witness the story of Josh Wolf, a bay area anarchist who had shot video of
> a protest at which a police officer was hit on the head.  The court sought
> prosecution and persecution to a level they would have never mobilized for
> a mere citizen, because this was an affront to their authority.  They
> wanted Josh Wolf to provide all unreleased footage and testify to the grand
> jury answering any questions they had (although presumably stopping at the
> fifth amendment) and, being an anarchist, he simply refused.
> they put him in jail for contempt of court, for nine months i think,
> hoping they would break him with their mighty authority.  But eventually it
> became clear that they had no power over him, and his lawyers showed that
> the imprisonment would not compel his cooperation and was purely punitive,
> and since he had been convicted of nothing he was released.
> a perfect example of the state overreaching its authority, which
> ultimately flows only, in the words of Mao, from the barrel of a gun.
>> As far as whether or not it was right for the government to request that
>> information, there are a few facts in the article that made me worry less
>> about this particular incident.
>> The guy was a convicted felon on parole when this happened; he had been
>> practicing as a pimp and according to her testimony had on at least one
>> occasion convinced a 15 year old homeless girl to work for him, taking all
>> of her profits and eventually beating the crap out of her when she started
>> speaking to someone that promised to help her from that situation. After
>> beating her up he forced her into his trunk and drove her somewhere else
>> in
>> the area, then left her outside "bleeding and bruised".
>> He was sentenced to prison for several years, and once out violated his
>> parole several times and was sent to jail for a year and a half. Once out
>> he
>> signed away his 4th amendment rights (and interesting part of how we do
>> things here, but as long as he gets them back after parole is over I feel
>> like I'm ok with that for certain convictions like violent crimes), and
>> was
>> under surveillance when they noticed he appeared to be pimping again using
>> the Android phone in question.
>> So basically - in this particular case it looks like our laws were doing a
>> good job protecting us from scumbags, which they are meant to do. However,
>> it would be more reassuring if Google was unable to help the police,
>> simply
>> because we could rest assured that their job would be harder when they
>> *were* trying to abuse innocent people's rights.
>> On Sat, Apr 21, 2012 at 2:03 PM, Ben Kochie <superq at gmail.com> wrote:
>>      I think there have been other law enforcement requests for this
>>      and
>>      Google did say basically that.
>>      On Sat, Apr 21, 2012 at 13:52, Jake <jake at spaz.org> wrote:
>>      > i think it would be ideal if Google could honestly answer, "we
>>      do not have
>>      > the ability to unlock a phone which has been locked that way,
>>      sorry."
>>      >
>>      >
>>      > On Sat, 21 Apr 2012, Jonathan Lassoff wrote:
>>      >
>>      >> On Sat, Apr 21, 2012 at 10:37 AM, Ben Kochie
>>      <superq at gmail.com> wrote:
>>      >>>
>>      >>> The funny part is, the feds are still not going to get the
>>      password to
>>      >>> unlock the device.  Have fun with that hashed password.
>>       Google's not
>>      >>> stupid enough to store user passwords in plain text.
>>      >>
>>      >>
>>      >> Sure, but I would presume someone there can grant a session
>>      token or
>>      >> somehow respond affirmatively to an authentication request
>>      from this
>>      >> phone, so as to get it to unlock without the password.
>>      >>
>>      >> Still -- what a weird situation.
>>      >>
>>      >> --j
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