Monday 31 August 2015

Venezuela Border Crisis: Your News or Ours?

When we heard that a recent border closing had motivated thousands of immigrants—many of whom were legal and naturalized—to flee Venezuela for their native Colombia, we decided to use SumRando Cybersecurity’s VPN to see if the story shifted based on who was doing the telling. The results are in:

On August 27, as Venezuela's pro-government, investment firm-owned El Universal reported: 
Venezuela llama a consultas a su embajador en Colombia 
Venezuela Recalls Embassador to Colombia for Consultation
El Universal, Venezuela, Colombia, border crisis, immigration, Maduro
[Source: El Universal]

and Venezuela’s independent news outlet TalCual reported:
Maduro también llama a consultas a embajador venezolano en Colombia
  Maduro Recalls Venezuelan Embassador to Colombia for Consultation
TalCual, Venezuela, Colombia, border crisis, immigration
[Source: TalCual]

from our New York node, the New York Times reported:
New York Times, Venezuela, Colombia, immigration, border crisis
[Source: The New York Times]

and from our Sweden node, Dagens Nyheter reported:
Undantagstillstånd vid gränsen mot Colombia
A State of Emergency on the Border with Colombia
Dagens Nyheter, Colombia, Venezuela, border crisis, immigration
[Source: Dagens Nyheter]

The news you receive depends on where your internet service provider believes your computer is. See for yourself with our nodes in Brazil, Hong Kong, Jordan, New York, Singapore, Sweden and Turkey. Find what's out there, surf secure and stay Rando!

Thursday 27 August 2015

SumVoices: Cyber Security & Social Media in Indonesia

SumNews is excited to launch SumVoices, a series that invites individuals around the globe to share their local knowledge of the Internet, cybersecurity, digital privacy and net neutrality. If you are interested in contributing to SumVoices, please email for more information. 

In our first post, Indonesian author and entrepreneur, Ollie, offers a glimpse into the dangers that lurk for internet users in Indonesia. Be informed, surf secure and stay Rando!

Ollie, internet, cybersecurity, cyber security, Indonesia, Aulia Halimatussadiah, social media
The Indonesian Internet, according to Ollie.
Threat #1: Stolen Passwords
A few months ago, my father suddenly got many phone calls from his friends, not to have a conversation, but to inform him that his Facebook account had been hacked.

Someone stole my father’s Facebook password and used it to break into his account and started to message his friends to ask for money. Apparently these hackers actually do it manually because they replied on many kinds of questions asked by my father’s friends.

My father is one of 65 million people in Indonesia that have logged into Facebook at least once. From 74 million internet users in Indonesia, that’s 30% internet penetration. Most of them are very active to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites, but only a few of them know the danger they face every day due to the reckless use of social media.

Threat #2: Malicious Malware
Not only password hacking, Facebook users in Indonesia also face malicious malware from a virus in the form of links. Gadis Mabuk XXX, or Drunk Girl malware, tries to ‘sell’ sexually explicit videos of drunk girls to attract people to click the dangerous link. The link has circulated Indonesian Facebook accounts and more than 2,000 Facebook accounts were affected.

Threat #3: Romance Scams
Romance scams are also happening on Facebook. One girl shared her experience of having a relationship with someone from the military that seduced her on Facebook. Luckily, she’s aware of the situation, and it didn’t cost her financial loss. But romance scammers know exactly what Indonesian women want: a fairy tale. A stable relationship with some hunk and romantic foreigner from the States. Sometimes the relationship has been widely known by their friends and their family, so, when the time has come for this ‘fake boyfriend’ to come to Indonesia, she will do everything to help make her dreams come true. That’s including sending thousands of dollars when the so-called fake boyfriend calls from immigration, asking for help. Even if only 1% of Indonesian women users fall for the scam, that's still around 300,000 people. The potential damage from romance scams alone is $3 million, minimum. 

Threat #4: Email Phishing
Scams using social engineering through email can easily be found in the community. I won’t respond for that email from the King of Ghana, but when my own friend with his own email sent me an email with subject: Important Files, this was the one that I almost clicked. What saved me was: being aware of what I’m clicking.

Being aware of phishing saved Benakribo, a famous blogger and videographer from Indonesia. His Instagram account was almost hacked. If he cared less to check the email address of the sender and clicked the very convincing link that was sent to him anyway, he not only would have lost his precious contents, but also the 264,000 followers and community he had built for years.

The Future of Indonesian Cyber Security
Research by eMarketer estimates that by 2018, nearly 95 million people in Indonesia will access Facebook via their phones. More access to technology means more education and awareness of cyber security is needed for the general population. It’s the role of government in Indonesia to help implement the basic education on safe internet practices from early level of education at schools. Participation of private sectors to assist with trainings and individuals to spread the awareness of best practices would increase the strength of people’s cyber defense. And it should start, not next year nor tomorrow, but now, by educating yourself on how cyberattacks look and work on the internet in general and on social media.

Have a safe day!

Ollie has published 27 books and founded several startups in Indonesia. She participates in Girls in Tech Indonesia to encourage girls to use technology as a catalyst for success. For such work, she received the Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Technology's Kartini Next Generation Special Award 2013--Inspiring Woman in ICT and was listed in InfoKomputer's 2011 Top 10 Women in Indonesia as well as Girls in Tech's 2012 5 Geek Girls in Asia to Look out for. Learn more about Ollie at and follow her on Twitter @salsabeela

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Twitter Shuts Down Politwoops, Signifying “Work Left to Do”

Last Friday, Twitter informed Open State Foundation that it would no longer have the API access necessary to continue Politwoops and Diplotwoops, platforms that post the deleted tweets of elected officials, diplomats and embassies in 30 countries including Egypt, India, Tunisia and Turkey. The news was hardly a surprise, given the suspension of API access to Politwoops US in May, but certainly came as a disappointment. 

Politwoops, Diplotwoops, Sunlight Foundation, Open State Foundation, Twitter, campaign tweets
Politwoops US archived campaign tweets, which will no longer be available. [Source: Politwoops]

Until Friday, Politwoops and Diplotwoops had provided valuable insight into politics for journalists and everyday citizens alike. Of note, Politwoops US caught politicians rescinding their praise of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl once they discovered that his 5 years of Taliban captivity may have been initiated by his own desertion and that his freedom came at the cost of releasing five Taliban detainees. Politwoops US also preserved Senator Nancy Pelosi mistaking the African continent for a country.
Arjan El Fassed, Open State Foundation’s Director argued, “What elected politicians publicly say is a matter of public record. Even when tweets are deleted, it’s part of parliamentary history. These tweets were once posted and later deleted. What politicians say in public should be available to anyone. This is not about typos but it is a unique insight on how messages from elected politicians can change without notice.”
Twitter’s defense of its decision has raised all sorts of eyebrows and red flags. The statement received by Open State Foundation read in part: “Ultimately, Twitter’s decision was guided by the company’s core value to “Defend and respect the user’s voice.” The ability to delete one’s Tweets—for whatever reason—has been a long-standing feature of the Twitter service. Imagine how nerve-racking—terrifying, even—Tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable? No one user is more deserving of that ability than another.” Twitter further claimed that Politwoops and Diplotwoops violate their developer agreement, which promises to delete content that has been deleted.
Twitter believes that all users should be treated equally, but established protocols push against this notion. Google’s Right to Be Forgotten, for example, simultaneously protects a citizen’s right to anonymity and her right to information about public figures. Politwoops and Diplotwoops share tweets that are considered public information and deserve protection as such. Many countries guarantee a right to access of public information--temporary or otherwise--a fact that has pushed Open State Foundation to pursue alternate ways of continuing its deleted tweet project.
If there were a flaw in the Politwoops and Diplotwoops model, it is not the “nerve-racking terror” imbued by a tweet living on in perpetuity. It is simply that these platforms have always relied on Twitter’s willingness to share user data with a third party. Open State Foundation has used human curation to carefully distinguish between that which is public and that which is private, but ultimately the platforms represent yet another example of users signing up for one service and unwittingly feeding their information elsewhere.
The criticism for Twitter’s latest action far outweighs the praise, but unfortunately, in a world where legislation has not caught up with technology, it is ultimately free to do as it likes. Sunlight Foundation President Chris Gates perhaps summed it up best: “Technology is creating new and imaginative ways to support a healthy civic discourse, but we clearly have work left to do to determine how our expectations for public discourse will play out in privately owned and managed spaces.”

Monday 24 August 2015

2015 World Press Freedom Index Shows a “Worrying Decline”

In Bangladesh, 4 “atheist” bloggers have been brutally murdered this year.

In Egypt, 22 journalists sit in prison.

The really scary fact, however, is this: of the 180 countries on the 2015 World Press Freedom Index, Bangladesh ranks 146 and Egypt ranks 158. Two countries with little regard for freedom of expression are simply two of many—and are actually more tolerant than dozens.

Reporters Without Borders’ 2015 World Press Freedom Index map and rankings:

The index takes into account each country’s plurality of opinions, media independence, environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, infrastructure and abuses of information providers.

The good: Finland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, Austria, Canada, Jamaica and Estonia topped the index.

The bad: Laos, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Vietnam, China, Syria, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea claimed the bottom 10 spots.

The ugly reality: Overall, 2015 Press Freedom showed a “worrying decline” with two-thirds of countries exhibiting a decrease in freedom as compared to 2014. According to the study, reasons for the decline include the continuance of global conflicts, the proliferation of non-state actors, the growth of religious censorship, an increase in opposition to journalists covering demonstrations, a shift in the European Union away from freedom of information, an increased emphasis on “national security” in democracies and non-democracies alike and authoritarian regimes seeking evermore control. 

Know your freedoms, surf secure and stay Rando!

Friday 21 August 2015

Egypt’s “Anti-Terror” Law Further Limits Free Speech

Mahmoud Abou Zeid, Egypt, detained, photojournalist, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi
Mahmoud Abou Zeid [Source: CPJ]
August 14, 2013: Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid was detained while covering a pro-Morsi sit in. He remains imprisoned, without charges or trial.
Saeed Abuhaj, Muslim Brotherhood leaflet, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt
Saeed Abuhaj [Source: CPJ]

November 4, 2013: Egyptian videographer Saeed Abuhaj was arrested on anti-state charges. While filming a Muslim Brotherhood demonstration, he was found carrying a leaflet in support of the outlawed organization. A trial date has not been established.

April 9, 2014: Egyptian Freedom and Justice Gate correspondent Abdel Rahman Shaheen was arrested on charges of inciting and committing violence during protests. In February 2015, charges of aiding terrorism and broadcasting false news were added.

January 31, 2015: Egyptian Freedom and Justice Gate editor and cultural affairs correspondent Ahmed el-Tanobi was arrested for “incitement against the government,” “participating in illegal protests,” and belonging to an “illegal group.” Tanobi was released with bail on June 9.

August 16, 2015: Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi signed an “anti-terrorism” bill into law.

In short, a bad situation just became far worse. 

Currently, 22 journalists are imprisoned for their reporting on Egyptian affairs. Sisi’s new law will only serve to expand the state’s ability to punish freedom of expression. 

As the BBC News explained, under the new law:

  • Trials for suspected militants will be fast-tracked through special courts. Anyone found guilty of joining a militant group could face 10 years in prison
  • Financing terrorist groups will also carry a penalty of life in prison (25 years)
  • Inciting violence or creating websites deemed to spread terrorist messages will carry sentences of five to seven years
  • Journalists can be fined between 200,000 and 500,000 ($25,500-$64,000) Egyptian pounds for contradicting official accounts of militant attacks

The Committee to Protect Journalists’ Sherif Mansour remarked, “As of today, journalists are legally prohibited from investigating, verifying, and reporting on one of the most important matters of public interest. The state has effectively made itself the only permissible source of news on these stories.”

The law, however, will not stop at published journalists. It broadly defines terrorism as any act designed to harm public order, social peace or national unity, consequently posing a threat to a long list of individuals who do not see eye-to-eye with Sisi. 

According to BBC columnist Bill Thompson, “They’re trying to control all of the avenues through which information can get to people because they’re concerned about the impact it might have. And even if the intentions are good, it will have a chilling effect because the penalties can be so severe…I just worry that the flow of information particularly within Egypt about these important things is going to be so limited that the population won’t have the information they need to make good choices or to influence the policy of the government. It gets in the way of politics if you say you can’t say anything except what the government allows. That’s the danger.”

Sisi’s strict anti-terrorism law is largely an attempt to maintain order in the face of increasingly routine jihadist attacks and the assassination of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat in particular. If the events immediately following the signing of the law are any indication—peacekeepers looking to pull out of the Sinai Peninsula, a security building bombed, and four Palestinians kidnapped—the law will bring anything but peace.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

It’s A Vulnerable World: mid-August 2015

Early August brought renowned security conferences Black Hat and USENIX, and with them came a seemingly endless list of vulnerabilities. With Tor, Apple and even the Internet of Things on the roundup below, it’s hard not to wonder if anything remains secure:

Challenging the notion that Apple computers are inherently secure, researchers proved that even the Mac can succumb to the attack of a firmware worm. Researcher Xeno Kovah highlighted the severity of such an attack: “For most users that’s really a throw-your-machine-away kind of situation. Most people and organizations don’t have the wherewithal to physically open up their machine and electrically reprogram the chip.”
The United States Food and Drug Administration warned that the Hospira Symbiq Infusion System is vulnerable to takeover by hackers and advised against its use. The pump system is commonly used to send medication into the bloodstream of patients in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

RSA reported that a China-based VPN, dubbed the“Terracotta” network, has obtained many of its hundreds of exit nodes by hacking into vulnerable Windows servers across the globe, which are then used to exploit government and commercial organizations. Hackers such as those responsible for the U.S.’s OPM attack are thought to be operating out of the Terracotta VPN. 

Tor, security vulnerability, MIT, QCRI, EFF
Researchers successfully unhid hidden Tor servers. [Source: EFF]
MIT and QCRI researchers proved that Tor, a network that protects anonymity by routing traffic through a series of tunnels, has its flaws: by analyzing traffic patterns and without breaking encryption, the researchers determined what sites users were visiting.

Within days of the release of Windows 10, Cisco reported an accompanying ransomware scam. A phishing email masking as a Windows 10 update releases CTB-Locker and asks for payment within 96 hours.

Security researcher Paul Rosenzweig argued that Apple’s iPhone is anything but end-to-end secure, citing cellular provider and metadata records, brute-force password unlocking, iCloud backup and potential for wiretapping as concerns. Before you abandon your iPhone for Android, keep in mind ACLU technologist Christopher Soghoian’s recent tweet: “If law enforcement can’t hack the hundreds of millions of Android phones running out-of-date, vulnerable software, they’re not trying.”

Vulnerable encryption keys were found in Zigbee, a wireless language that connects 1000+ Internet of Things devices, meaning door locks, lights and other smart home devices could all fall into the hands of hackers. A Symantec report released at Black Hat 2015 further suggested that Internet of Things vulnerabilities could be ransomware's next frontier.

Internet of Things, Symantec, Zigbee, security vulnerability, insecurity
The Internet of Things is increasingly a part of (insecure) everyday life. [Source:]
A committee investigation reported alarming structural flaws in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services. In the authors’ words, “Americans should not have to worry that the U.S. government is left so vulnerable to attack…Unfortunately, the bar has been set low and we have nowhere to go but up.”
Israeli researchers proved it is possible to take data from an air-gapped computer with an out-of-date features (i.e. not smart) phone, technology that is frequently allowed in otherwise secure areas.

Government ministries in India are taking measures to defend themselves against Pakistani attempts to retrieve sensitive information. The ministries of Defense, External Affairs, Civil Aviation, Finance, Power and Telecoms are all on alert.

Security researchers Alexandrea Mellen and John Moore revealed the danger of using a Square Reader to complete a credit card transaction: “In the [point of sale] market, we’ve seen new hardware and software coming out from lots of providers usually implementing their own solutions. These are cheap, compact and compatible. They also face the challenge of being secure. Lower hardware budgets and their ability to interface with cell phones that are used for other purposes is leaving customer card information vulnerable and making it harder to secure devices.” Mellon and Moore cracked a Square Reader in less than 10 minutes.
Anonymous, Malaysia, Anonymous Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak, August 29, security vulnerability, insecurity
Anonymous has threatened Malaysia with an Internet war. [Source: Anonymous]

Anonymous Malaysia has threatened an “all-out Internet war” against the government if Prime Minister Najib Razak does not resign by August 29. In response, government agencies are in the process of upgrading software and patching security vulnerabilities.

A study presented at the USENIX Security Symposium showed that journalist practices are frequently inadequate for protecting sensitive information. According to senior author Franzisksa Roesner, “It’s not just a matter of giving journalists information about the right tools to use—it’s that the tools are often not usable. They often fail because they’re not designed for journalists.”

If we’ve missed any vulnerabilities, let us know in the comments below. Surf secure and stay Rando!

Friday 14 August 2015

EFF’s Privacy Badger: Another Tool in Your Privacy Toolkit

You have your VPN, your web proxy and your secure messenger. What else should you keep in your privacy toolkit?

EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Privacy Badger, web tracking, third party
EFF's Privacy Badger blocks advertiser & third party tracking.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently released Privacy Badger 1.0, a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome that blocks advertisers and third parties from tracking activity online.

EFF Staff Technologist and Privacy Badger Lead Developer Cooper Quintin explained, "It's likely you are being tracked by advertisers and other third parties online. You can see some of it when it's happening, such as ads that follow you around the Web that seem to reflect your past browsing history. Those echoes from your past mean you are being tracked, and the records of your online activity are distributed to other third parties--all without your knowledge, control, or consent. But Privacy Badger 1.0 will spot many of the trackers following you without your permission, and will block them or screen out the cookies that do their dirty work."

Why we like Privacy Badger:
  • Privacy Badger shows users who was tracking them
  • Privacy Badger automatically initiates a "Do Not Track" browser setting
  • Committed digital privacy advocate EFF works for user privacy, not advertisers

What Privacy Badger won't do:
  • Block tracking by websites users actively visit (first party websites)
  • Block mobile web tracking
  • Block Internet Explorer, Opera or Safari web tracking 

Privacy Badger, in a nutshell: 
Privacy Badger 1.0 is an attempt to enforce what its corresponding Do Not Track policy cannot. Do Not Track empowers users to emerge from their shadows in order to assert their belief in a right to opt-out of tracking, but without legislative support, has found limited success in motivating first and third party trackers to voluntarily respect users' requests for privacy. Privacy Badger enables users to take matters into their own hands.

Neither Privacy Badger 1.0 nor the Do Not Track policy anonymizes identity or blocks all web tracking, but together they are powerful tools in the digital privacy toolkit. Be informed, surf secure and stay Rando!

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Death of Bangladeshi Blogger Strengthens Argument for Legislative Reform

Niloy Neel, Bangladesh, Bangladeshi blogger, Section 57, digital privacy, ICT Act, 2013 Amendment
Niloy Neel concealed his true identity on Facebook. [Source:]
Friday’s murder of Niloy Neel confirms that a list is a dangerous place to find oneself in the digital age.

Four of the 84 individuals on a list of Bangladeshi “atheist bloggers”—Neel, along with Avijit Roy, Oyasiqur Rahman Babu and Ananta Bijoy Das—have been brutally murdered in 2015.

The list dates back to 2013, the year the Bangladeshi government amended the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act to legalize warrantless arrests and increase maximum prison sentences to 14 years. Given the Act's Section 57, which called for punishment for information that "causes to deteriorate or creates possibility to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the State or person or causes to hurt or may hurt religious belief or instigate against any person or organization," the amendment invited free expression to be countered with stiff consequences.

At the time, established Islamic groups collected and submitted the 84 names to the Bangladeshi government, asking for the bloggers’ arrests. The list, ignored by the government, instead fell into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists, who on Friday exhibited their growing willingness to take matters into their own hands.

Neel had suspected himself to be a target and asked the police for protection, who only told him to leave the country. He stayed in Bangladesh and took what precautions he could: in addition to using a penname, he removed photos and changed his location on Facebook. Regardless, the blogger was attacked in his own home, proving just how little protection or privacy he had.

The international community has responded with an outpouring of criticism for Bangladesh’s lack of responsibility in protecting its citizens’ rights to expression and to life:

United Nations Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression, David Kaye, and on extrajudicial executions, Christof Heyns, condemned the murder: "The violent killing of another critical voice in Bangladesh shows that serious threats to freedom of expression persist in the country. The organized targeting of critical voices aims at promoting a culture of silence and fear, and affects the society as a whole. The Bangladeshi authorities must not only continue to strongly condemn these horrendous acts against freedom of expression, but should also ensure that their words are followed by more effective efforts to ensure greater accountability and prevent this kind of violence."

The Committee to Protect Journalists’ Sumit Galhotra asked, “How many more bloggers must be murdered before the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina acts decisively to stem violence and impunity?” 

Official Bangladeshi rhetoric, however, has done little to address this question. Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque recently defended the law: “We need to remember that hurting religious sentiments is a crime according to our law. Those who are free thinkers and writers, I will request them, please make sure that we don’t cross the line. Anything that may hurt anyone’s religious sentiments or beliefs should not be written.”

With four men dead in six months, Hoque needs to ask the law to change, not the bloggers to silence themselves. It is 2013’s amendment to the ICT Act that created the notion that individuals should be punished harshly for their ideas, and in turn manifested a list of people to target. It is time for the Bangladeshi government to take responsibility for the toxic environment it has created.

In June, there were reported plans to amend the ICT Act by the end of 2015. Bangladesh cannot wait that long.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Freedom House Evaluates Internet Freedom Worldwide

Independent Watchdog Freedom House has categorized 65 countries as Free, Partly Free or Not Free in terms of their Freedom on the Net:

Freedom House, Freedom on the Net, Internet Freedom

Freedom House's interactive map and reports provide detailed explanations of where each country stands in terms of obstacles to internet access, limits on content and violations of user rights. For example:
  • Brazil: Free. 2014's Marco Civil Bill protects digital privacy and net neutrality, but cyberattacks remain an issue.
  • Nigeria: Partly Free. Cybercafes are required to maintain a database of registered users and individuals have been arrested for social media posts.
  • Iran: Not Free. Internet speeds are slow; Twitter and Facebook are blocked; and censorship and arrests for online activities are common.
The study acknowledges a trend towards increased government surveillance, censorship of free speech and pressure on independent news outlets.

Take a look; know your freedoms; and surf secure and stay Rando!

Thursday 6 August 2015

Just Say No to Civil Liability for Encryption Providers

Last Thursday, Lawfare posted an article so controversial that Edward Snowden was among the digital privacy advocates to speak out in opposition.

Lawfare, Apple, Encryption, Civil Liability, Edward Snowden
In “Civil Liability for End-to-End Encryption: Threat or Fantasy?” legal experts Benjamin Wittes and Zoe Bedell attempted to objectively determine whether a company such as Apple could be held liable if its encrypted communications were utilized in carrying out a terrorist attack or crime.

The conclusion of their two-part article was murky at best: “The irony is that the logical consequence of this analysis is not necessarily that Apple should design its systems so as to facilitate law enforcement access to encrypted communications when presented with a warrant. It may well be, rather, that it should deny service to individuals once it has been put on notice that the government has probable cause that those individuals are engaged in criminal or terrorist activity. That presents a weird kind of due process issue, of course. Those individuals have not yet been charged with any crime. Some may be innocent. And from the Bureau’s point of view, cutting off service may be the last thing investigators want, as it would tip off the suspect that his activity had been noticed. 

“All that said, it’s a bit of a puzzle how a company that knowingly provides encrypted communications services to a specific person identified to it as engaged in terrorist activity escapes liability if and when that person then kills an American in a terrorist incident that relies on that encryption.”

The article was met immediately with harsh criticism from the privacy community, whose tweets accused the authors of everything from “expressly threatening Apple w/terrorism prosecution” to continuing a “braindead jihad against encryption.” Wittes and Bedell posted a second article later that day, insisting that as an encryption agnostic and a backdoor skeptic, respectively, their point had been missed.

If Wittes and Bedell were surprised by the pushback, they shouldn’t have been. The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently declared the Crypto Wars a global phenomenon, citing proposed and passed legislation in the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Australia as evidence. The privacy community recognizes that the world is engaged in a real, immediately impactful debate about the necessity of government backdoors; rather than let an arbitrary inquiry into a hypothetical situation be interpreted as a reason to compromise Apple’s—and everyone’s—encryption, they spoke out.

The concern about the implications of the article was so great that the Intercept even reached out to Edward Snowden for a response. Snowden took advantage of the opportunity to remind Wittes and Bedell that encryption cannot be reduced to a domestic issue:

“The central problem with insecurity mandates has never been addressed by its proponents: if one government can demand access to private communications, all governments can. No matter how good the reason, if the U.S. sets the precedent that Apple has to compromise the security of a customer in response to a piece of government paper, what can they do when the government is China and the customer is the Dalai Lama?”

In solidarity with privacy advocates everywhere, SumRando's founder concurred that “encryption—integral to the security SumRando users rely on—is currently our strongest tool in the fight against unwarranted surveillance and in support of a right to privacy. It is impossible to ignore that people from all walks of life, from around the globe, knowingly or passively, depend on this technology to maintain their online safety."

In Part One of their article, Wittes and Bedell wisely concluded that Apple’s hypothetical liability could simply come down to the “zeitgeist of the moment.” As such, the privacy community has reminded the authors that majority opinion finds no rational, logical or objective argument for holding Apple liable for a crime committed using its encrypted communications.