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A forensic scientist allegedly seen “dry labbing” a suspected marijuana sample in December has been suspended, as prosecutors and defense attorneys consider thousands of other cases in which he handled evidence. Kamal Shah of the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Science worked as a drug analyst from 2005 to 2015, and handled 7,827 cases, according to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. Full Story: Lab Tech Suspended after Allegedly 'Dry Labbing' Drug Evidence
The FBI on Saturday rebutted media reports that San Bernardino County technicians acted without the agency's consent when they reset the password for the Apple iCloud account belonging to one of the shooters involved in the Dec. 2 terror attack at a county facility that killed 14 people. “This is not true,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a statement released late Saturday night. “FBI investigators worked cooperatively with the county of San Bernardino in order to exploit crucial data contained in the iCloud account associated with a county-issued iPhone that was assigned to the terror suspect, Syed Rizwan Farook.” Apple has refused to give the FBI the tools to unlock Farook’s iPhone, and the battle escalated Friday when the government urged a federal judge to immediately compel the tech giant to comply, arguing that it appears more concerned with marketing strategy than national security. Separately on Friday, federal prosecutors and senior Apple executives also disclosed new details about what transpired privately in the weeks leading up to their very public legal battle, including their previous efforts to access the phone’s content. Apple's fight with the FBI Apple said that in early January it provided four alternatives to access data from the iPhone besides the controversial method the FBI is now proposing. But one of the most encouraging options was ruled out after the phone’s owner – Farook’s employer, the San Bernardino County Public Health Department – reset the password to his iCloud account in order to access data from the backup, according to Apple officials. That means the iCloud password on the iPhone itself is now wrong, and it won’t back up unless someone can get past the phone’s passcode and change it. The issue was [...]
Reversing course, a key congressman said lawmakers will need to step into the debate over encryption vs. privacy after Apple said it would oppose a court order demanding it help the FBI hack a spree killer’s cell phone. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) had previously said a legislative approach to the encryption debate was not feasible. But in a statement Wednesday, Schiff said the questions posed by the Apple case “will ultimately need to be resolved by Congress, the administration and industry, rather than the courts alone,” according to a Reuters report. Schiff is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. The iPhone of San Bernardino mass killer Syed Farook remains locked in the FBI’s possession. Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik allegedly killed 14 people and wounded 21 others at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 2. Of particular interest to detectives is an 18-minute window in which authorities cannot account for the two killers’ whereabouts. The couple was chased down and killed in a shootout roughly two hours after the massacre. James Comey, director of the FBI, told the Senate Intelligence Committee’s annual Hearing on Worldwide Threats earlier this month that Farook’s work-issued phone remained locked. READ MORE: FBI Struggles to Crack San Bernardino Terrorist’s Encrypted Phone, Two Months Later “We still have one of those killers’ phones that we have not been able to open,” he said. “It’s been over two months, we’re still working on it.” The White House abandoned a push for encryption-access legislation last year, amid outcry from privacy advocates and opposition from industry players, according to Reuters. Reuters also reported that the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on encryption for March 1 [...]
Apple will fight a federal judge’s order to help crack the locked iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, the CEO said in a letter to customers Wednesday. The unlocking of the single cell phone would involve new software that would create a “master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks,” essentially forming new cybersecurity problems, according to Tim Cook, Apple CEO. “The U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to be build a backdoor to the iPhone,” Cook said in his statement. “In the wrong hands, this software – which does not exist today – would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.” Of particular interest to detectives is a window of approximately 18 minutes, in which, authorities cannot account for the two killers’ whereabouts. The couple was chased down and killed in a shootout roughly two hours after they allegedly killed 14 people and wounded 21 others at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 2. James Comey, director of the FBI, told the Senate Intelligence Committee's annual Hearing on Worldwide Threats last week that Bureau experts had been unable to crack open the Farook phone. Source: Apple Rejects Court Order for 'Master Key' into San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone
In an emphatic defense of privacy in the digital age, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police generally may not search the cellphones of people they arrest without first getting search warrants. Cellphones are unlike anything else police may find on someone they arrest, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. They are "not just another technological convenience," he said, but ubiquitous, increasingly powerful computers that contain vast quantities of personal, sensitive information. "With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life," Roberts declared. So the message to police about what they should do before rummaging through a cellphone's contents following an arrest is simple: "Get a warrant." The chief justice acknowledged that barring searches would affect law enforcement, but he said: "Privacy comes at a cost." By ruling as it did, the court chose not to extend earlier decisions from the 1970s— when cellphone technology was not yet available — that allow police to empty a suspect's pockets and examine whatever they find to ensure officers' safety and prevent the destruction of evidence. The Obama administration and the state of California, defending cellphone searches, said the phones should have no greater protection from a search than anything else police find. But the defendants in the current cases, backed by civil libertarians, librarians and news media groups, argued that cellphones, especially smartphones, can store troves of sensitive personal information. "By recognizing that the digital revolution has transformed our expectations of privacy, today's decision is itself revolutionary and will help to protect the privacy rights of all Americans," said American Civil Liberties Union legal director Steven Shapiro. Under the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, police generally need [...]
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