今日主題: Privacy and security -- Code to ruin?  隱私與安全--解密手機?

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Privacy and security -- Code to ruin?

The rights and wrongs of Apple's fight with the FBI

CITIZENS have a right to both security and privacy. The difficulties arise when these two rights are in conflict, as they now are in the battle between the world's most valuable company and its most famous law-enforcement agency. Apple has refused to comply with a court order to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by Syed Farook, one of the terrorists involved in the San Bernardino shootings in December. The company says the government's request fundamentally compromises the privacy of its users; the feds say that Apple's defiance jeopardises the safety of Americans (see article).
公民應該享有安全和隱私的權利。然而當兩者衝突的時候,問題就來了:這就是目前的情形——世界上市值最高的公司站在了赫赫有名的執法機構的對立面。蘋果拒 絕執行一項幫助FBI解鎖iPhone的法院判決,該手機是使用者名叫Syed Farook,是參與12月份聖貝納迪諾槍擊案的恐怖分子之一。公司表示政府命令從根本上違背了消費者隱私權,而聯邦政府則聲稱,如果蘋果對該項判決拒不 執行會危害美國人民的安全,

Some frame the stand-off in terms of the rule of law: Apple cannot pick and choose which rules it will obey, they say. That is both true and beside the point. The firm has the right to appeal against a court order; if it eventually loses the legal battle, it will have to comply. The real question is whether Apple's substantive arguments are right. That hinges on two issues.

The first is whether the FBI's request sets a precedent. The law-enforcers say not. This is not an attempt to build a generic flaw in Apple's encryption, through which government can walk as needed. It is a request to unlock a specific device, akin to wiretapping a single phone line. The phone belonged to a government department, not Farook. Apple and other tech firms regularly co-operate with the authorities on criminal cases; this is no different. Yet Apple is being asked to do something new: to write a piece of software that does not currently exist in order to sidestep an iPhone feature that erases data after ten unsuccessful password attempts. Later models of the iPhone than the one Farook used are harder to compromise in this way. But if the court's ruling is upheld, it signals that companies can be compelled by the state to write new operating instructions for their devices. That breaks new ground.
第一要看FBI的要求是否會開先例。執法機構認為不會,這並不會在蘋果的加密系統中製造一個政府可以隨意進出的普遍漏洞,他們只是要求解鎖一個特定裝置, 這就相當於搭線竊聽一個特定的電話一樣。這部手機屬於政府部門,而不再是Farook。蘋果和其他科技公司經常會配合當局解決犯罪案件,這次也並無不同。 然而這次執法機構要求蘋果做的是一件前所未有的事情:寫一個全新的程式去阻攔iPhone中“輸錯10次密碼就會清除所有資料”的程式設定。在 Farook手機之後生產的新型號iPhone較難用這種方法破解。但是,一旦此判決被執行,就表示政府可以強令公司改寫其產品的運行指令。這會為後人打 破先例。

The second issue is whether that precedent is justified. And that entails a judgment on whether security would be enhanced or weakened by Apple's compliance. In the short term, the answer is that security will be enhanced. Farook was a terrorist; his phone is the only one being unlocked; and the device might give up the identity of other malefactors. But in the longer term, things are much fuzzier.

Security does not just mean protecting people from terrorism, but also warding off the threat of rogue espionage agencies, cybercriminals and enemy governments. If Apple writes a new piece of software that could circumvent its password systems on one phone, that software could fall into the hands of hackers and be modified to unlock other devices. If the capability to unlock iPhones exists, so will the temptation for the authorities to use it repeatedly. And if tech firms are forced to comply with this sort of request in America, it is harder for anyone to argue against similar demands from more repressive governments, such as China's. This newspaper has long argued against cryptographic backdoors and skeleton keys on these grounds. It is possible to imagine a scenario that might override such concerns: if information is needed to avert a specific and imminent threat to many lives, for example. But in this instance, Apple's case is the stronger.
安全性不僅意味著保護人們免受恐怖主義危害,還能規避流氓間諜機構、網路罪犯與敵軍政府的威脅。如果蘋果寫了一個新的軟體,能夠規避一部手機的口令系統, 那麼軟體就能落入駭客手中,被他修改並解鎖其他設備。如果有能力解鎖iPhones,那麼當局也同樣會反復使用此項技能。如果技術公司被迫同意美國這種請 求的話,那麼換作其他更具壓迫性的政府,例如中國,他們若提出這般相似請求,會更難對抗。本報長期反對解密後門與基於此方面的萬能鑰匙。可以去想像一個這 樣的場景,或許能掃除這些擔憂:需要獲取資料資訊來避免對許多人構成的一次特殊緊急威脅。但在這種情形下,蘋果案例比較有說服力。

Core arguments

This battle presages others. If the courts rule against Apple, it will work to make its devices so secure that they cannot be overridden by any updates. In that event (or, indeed, if the tech firm wins the Farook case), legislators will be tempted to mandate backdoor access via the statute book. If Tim Cook, Apple's boss, is not to hasten the outcome he wishes to avoid, he must lay out the safeguards that would have persuaded the firm to accede to the FBI's request. Tech firms are at the centre of a vital policy debate (see article). Apple has rejected the authorities' solution. Now it must propose its own.
這場對戰還預示了其他方面。如果法庭判蘋果敗訴,它將會使它的設備安全到不會被任何更新軟體推翻。倘或確實科技公司在Farook案例上獲勝,執法人員將 會選擇通過成文法強制指令解密後門。如果蘋果老闆Tim Cook不打算加速實現他想規避的結果,那他必須安排好本可以說服公司同意FBI要求的安全措施。科技公司處於重要政策爭論的中心。蘋果已經拒絕官方的解 決方式。現如今它必須提出自己的解決方式。


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