Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has maintained that it is "not sustainable to offer the whole internet for free".
This may just be my technical ignorance here, but wouldn't giving people unfettered access to "the whole internet" take less effort than a deliberately caged service? I mean, it's still gotta be able to access the servers for the approved websites, but they are, presumably, connected to the rest of the servers in all the places because that's how you internet. The only difference I can see is that with the limited service you offset the cost of "free" access by taking extra money from advertisers and approved websites. Am I missing something, or is this really that transparent of a price-gouging dick move?
I think the deal is that these Zuck-privileged sites don't count against the phone user's mobile data usage, which is otherwise going to be 1 zillion rupees per megabyte., 
So the problem is the mobile carriers not the Facebooks, and they are the ones who make it "impossible" to make the whole of the internet free. But in offering to pay the mobile carriers something in compensation (which he must be), he's kind of supporting the problem.
Again in plain English, the FBI wants Apple to create a special version of iOS that only works on the one iPhone they have recovered. This customized version of iOS (*ahem* FBiOS) will ignore passcode entry delays, will not erase the device after any number of incorrect attempts, and will allow the FBI to hook up an external device to facilitate guessing the passcode. The FBI will send Apple the recovered iPhone so that this customized version of iOS never physically leaves the Apple campus.
As many jailbreakers are familiar, firmware can be loaded via Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) Mode. Once an iPhone enters DFU mode, it will accept a new firmware image over a USB cable. Before any firmware image is loaded by an iPhone, the device first checks whether the firmware has a valid signature from Apple. This signature check is why the FBI cannot load new software onto an iPhone on their own — the FBI does not have the secret keys that Apple uses to sign firmware[...].
At this point it is very important to mention that the recovered iPhone is a 5C. The 5C model iPhone lacks TouchID and, therefore, lacks the single most important security feature produced by Apple: the Secure Enclave.
If the San Bernardino gunmen had used an iPhone with the Secure Enclave, then there is little to nothing that Apple or the FBI could have done to guess the passcode. However, since the iPhone 5C lacks a Secure Enclave, nearly all of the passcode protections are implemented in software by the iOS operating system and, therefore, replaceable by a firmware update.
Schneier also thinks the request is technically possible. However, whether it is actually possible seems to depend on what kind of passcode was used. A four-digit numeric passcode could apparently be cracked under these circumstances in about half an hour. An alphanumeric passcode may be for all intents and purposes uncrackable. The FBI has not announced whether the device has a four-digit PIN or a longer or more complicated code (and I don't see any way they could even know).
It is also worth noting that if the Secure Enclave were a feature of the 5C, the code couldn't be cracked for a year (if the passcode consisted of four numbers), six years (if it were six numbers), or possibly until after the heat-death of the universe (if it were an alphanumeric entry key).
However, the court's request that Apple create a new backdoor is troubling:
Apple's reasonable technical assistance shall accomplish the following three important functions: (1) it will bypass or disable the auto-erase function whether or not it has been enabled; (2) it will enable the FBI to submit passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE for testing electronically via the physical device port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other protocol available on the SUBJECT DEVICE and (3) it will ensure that when the FBI submits passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE, software running on the device will not purposefully introduce any additional delay between passcode attempts beyond what is incurred by Apple hardware.
It is worth pointing out that the last of these orders would be utterly impossible to comply with for versions of the iPhone starting with the 5S. It is also worth pointing out that, if Apple is forced to comply with this demand, there is absolutely nothing to stop other countries with much worse human rights records from demanding the same thing, and that there is no guarantee that they won't be subjected to further demands from the U.S. government in future cases down the road. Additionally, should a backdoor be created, it is entirely feasible that it could fall into the wrong hands. Even if Apple tries to keep this in-house, it is entirely possible that an employee with access could be bribed for the right sum of money to sell to the highest bidder.
This is an unprecedented, unwise, and unlawful move by the government. The Constitution does not permit the government to force companies to hack into their customers’ devices. Apple is free to offer a phone that stores information securely, and it must remain so if consumers are to retain any control over their private data.
The government’s request also risks setting a dangerous precedent. If the FBI can force Apple to hack into its customers’ devices, then so too can every repressive regime in the rest of the world. Apple deserves praise for standing up for its right to offer secure devices to all of its customers.
Reengineering iOS and breaking any number of Apple’s promises to its customers is the definition of an unreasonable burden. As the Ninth Circuit put it in a case interpreting technical assistance in a different context, private companies’ obligations to assist the government have “not extended to circumstances in which there is a complete disruption of a service they offer to a customer as part of their business.” What’s more, such an order would be unconstitutional. Code is speech, and forcing Apple to push backdoored updates would constitute “compelled speech” in violation of the First Amendment. It would raise Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues as well. Most important, Apple’s choice to offer device encryption controlled entirely by the user is both entirely legal and in line with the expert consensus on security best practices. It would be extremely wrong-headed for Congress to require third-party access to encrypted devices, but unless it does, Apple can’t be forced to do so under the All Writs Act.
[...] We are supporting Apple here because the government is doing more than simply asking for Apple’s assistance. For the first time, the government is requesting Apple write brand new code that eliminates key features of iPhone security—security features that protect us all. Essentially, the government is asking Apple to create a master key so that it can open a single phone. And once that master key is created, we're certain that our government will ask for it again and again, for other phones, and turn this power against any software or device that has the audacity to offer strong security.
The U.S. government wants us to trust that it won't misuse this power. But we can all imagine the myriad ways this new authority could be abused. Even if you trust the U.S. government, once this master key is created, governments around the world will surely demand that Apple undermine the security of their citizens as well[...].
Make no mistake: This is unprecedented, and the situation was deliberately engineered by the FBI and Department of Justice to force a showdown that could define limits our civil rights for generations to come. This is an issue with far-reaching implications well beyond a single phone, a single case, or even Apple itself.
As a career security professional, this case has chilling implications[...].
Apple is being asked to specifically create new software to circumvent their security controls. They aren’t being asked to use existing capabilities, since those no longer work. The FBI wants a new version of the operating system designed to allow the FBI to brute force attack the phone.
The FBI is using a highly emotional, nationally infamous terrorism case as justification for the request.
That’s why this is about far more than a single phone. Apple does not have the existing capability to assist the FBI. The FBI engineered a case where the perpetrators are already dead, but emotions are charged. And the law cited is under active legal debate within the federal courts.
The crux of the issue is should companies be required to build security circumvention technologies to expose their own customers? Not “assist law enforcement with existing tools,” but “build new tools.”[...]
I have no doubt the FBI deliberately chose the highest-profile domestic terrorism case in possibly a decade. We, average citizens, want the FBI to stop this sort of evil. We don’t necessarily see this one case as applying to our lives and our rights. Why the big deal? What if the FBI could find the terrorists’ contacts and stop other attacks?
But the truth is, no legal case applies in a vacuum. If this goes through, if Apple is forced to assist, it will open a floodgate of law enforcement requests. Then what about civil cases? Opening a phone to support a messy divorce and child custody battle? Or what about requests from other nations, especially places like China and the UAE that already forced BlackBerry and others to compromise the security of their customers?
And once the scale of these requests increases, as a security professional I guarantee the tools will leak, the techniques will be exploited by criminals, and our collective security will decline. It really doesn’t matter if it’s the iPhone 5c or 6s. It really doesn’t matter if this is about dead terrorists or a drug dealer. It doesn’t matter what specific circumvention Apple is being asked to create.
What matters is if we have a right to the security and privacy of our devices, and of our communications, which are also under assault. If we have the right to tools to defend ourselves from the government and criminals alike. Yes, these tools will be sometimes used for the worst of crimes, but they’re also fundamental to our civil rights, freedom of discourse, and our ability to protect our digital lives from the less impactful, but far more frequent criminal attacks.
This situation was engineered by the FBI and Department of Justice for the maximum impact and chances of success. Apple is fighting, and as a security professional it’s my obligation to support their position, and stronger security.
Daring Fireball has been a pretty good source of links related to this, incidentally.
I'm usually a pretty harsh critic of Apple, but what they're doing here seems to be an unquestionably good thing.
edit: Here's a primer on the piece of legislation being used as an excuse for this governmental overreach, the All Writs Act of 1789.
edit 2: This comment on the Techdirt article I linked above seems to summarise the issue better and more concisely than any previous piece I've read:
There is no vulnerability. That's the point.
The government can't hack into it without losing the data. It's not vulnerable. They're trying to make Apple create a vulnerability.
This is an unprecedented request from the court.
“All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” -Adam Smith
“If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself.” -Mikhail Bakunin
I guess this was predictable, but it's still fucking awful. Tom Wheeler has been a solid and consistent consumer advocate, and he'll no doubt be replaced by some kind of comic book supervillain who'll not only dismantle all the work that's already been done, but will invent creative new ways to fuck us over.
Liv and VM, please set up a national mesh networking system to route around the inevitable damage.
It is very, very likely that Net Neutrality will be taken away from the FCC anyway. It will likely be put back under the FTC. This may not kill it, but will most likely change how it's implemented.
"freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order."
- Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Ed. v. Barnette
I think I mentioned this somewhere else, but I'm not done with it.
So as we know, Tom Wheeler, the head of the FCC, is gone, along with the only other competent people there who were doing good work. Tom Wheeler was an industry guy, and I am not going to lie that I was mad when he was appointed, but I was wrong to be mad. He turned out to be pretty great, and he didn't act at all like he had conflicting interests.
The main thing he did was to start making some progress toward net neutrality, effectively (but not technically) classifying ISPs as common carriers. This is a huge deal. This means that the FCC recognized that your ISP, like basic phone service, is a public necessity for most, and that it's a naturally limiting market because of the infrastructure involved, so in most areas, it's a duopoly or even a monopoly. In order to deliver services, the providers need access to common areas. They need to dig up public streets and go onto private property. You can't reasonably just open up that market or this happens. (The explanation in that article is a little off, so take the text with a grain of salt.)
So in 1913, AT&T had been buying up competitors and emerging as a telephone monopoly, and, faced with the potential for an antitrust case, they agreed to act as a common carrier. That is, in exchange for the right to dominate the market, they would agree to be regulated like a utility rather than just as a regular, privately owned business. Along with that came a lot of public accommodations as well. They were given access to the utility easements they needed to install and maintain connected lines. As time went on, they got access to a lot of other things as well, including a ton of tax breaks and cold hard cash, usually in exchange for promises to improve public access and service quality. They have consistently failed to hold up their end of these deals, which is a whole nother thing, but suffice it to say that they have not acted in good faith, and that the "pipes" these companies claim are theirs all theirs were built using vast amounts of public funds and accommodations, so naw. These are utilities built with public funds for public use, and they are way way behind in keeping up their end of the deal, so for them to turn around and claim they belong to them and they should be able to do what they like with them is just plain obscene.
And ISPs work exactly the same way, in most cases using the exact same subsidies and easements and other preferential treatment. ISPs get fucking LAWS PASSED prohibiting competition, even in areas they don't service.
Wait. I'm going to say that again.
ISPs get fucking LAWS PASSED prohibiting competition, even in areas they don't service!!!!1!!!!1!!
That mewling little sycophant agreeing with the current dotty old mansplanation of net neutrality is our new FCC chair. He is a liar, a fraud, a thief, and a complete garbage person.
And he and the hive of liars, frauds, thieves, and complete garbage people known as the GOP (Garbage Orful People) are dead fucking set on rolling back the tiny little concession just passed back in October prohibiting ISPs from selling your internet history on the open fucking market without your permission or really any way to opt out. It was a fairly weak rule, just requiring ISPs to create a system to categorize and limit the use of sensitive information and not sell that to any old rando who will pay. That's all it did.
And they made the argument that this was unfair, as individual websites are allowed to collect and sell information about you, so they should not be limited by FCC rules. But of course, individual websites are not overseen by the FCC because they are not public utilities, and because they aren't monopolies or duopolies. They operate independently, and they're optional. ISPs are no more optional than telephones, and the data is no less sensitive.
And let us hearken back now to Pam Dixon's 2013 testimony to congress about the sorts of things that data brokers and miners are already doing with information they glean about people from available sources. I've posted this before, I know, but if you have not read it before, you really should read it now, because it's important:
Now imagine that your ISP is selling your internet history to these people. They've already got a lot of health information that has escaped the bounds of HIPAA-bound institutions. Imagine that your ISP can now tell everyone whenever you visit a medical specialist's website to make an appointment or see test results or something. Is that even optional at your medical facility, or do you have to use their website to access services? Pay really close attention to all the things that you're required to use the internet to do, because all of that information is going to be tracked and sold to anyone who wants it. That's what the Republicans are doing to you right now. That's what they're lying and dissembling about when you see these stupid old men making weird analogies to stupid old man things like trucks and bridges.
I do understand that this seems like a futzy little thing to be worried about right now, with all the other things going on, but this is exactly how insidious things get in under the radar. They're fussy, they're complicated, they're secretive and boring, and by the time they come around to bite you, it's way too late to do anything about it.