Tim Cook Says Apple Will Fight Us Gov’t Over Court-Ordered Iphone Backdoor

from ars technica

Apple chief Tim Cook has attacked the recent court order that compels Apple to unlock and decrypt the San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone. “Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the US government,” says an open letter published by Cook early this morning.

Late yesterday, a federal judge in California ordered Apple to help the US government (the FBI) unlock and decrypt the iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, who shot up an office party in San Bernardino in December 2015.

In the past, Apple has helped extract data from iPhones when issued with an appropriate warrant. Since iOS 8, however, full encryption has been enabled by default—a move that was seemingly introduced specifically to prevent such data-grabs by governments. “Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” the company wrote on its website at the time. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

More here.

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23 Responses to Tim Cook Says Apple Will Fight Us Gov’t Over Court-Ordered Iphone Backdoor

  1. Billy Vorrius February 19, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    This issue has opened my eyes more on the governments involvement for technology. It’s one thing to have the Patriot Act and have unknown and secret searches for the public good of the people. However, having the ability to unlock any iPhone the government wants is unimaginable. Cook is most certainly right, in the wrong hands, someone with this master key to unlock every iPhone would cause ultimate chaos in our world.
    The Patriot Act was instituted after the 9/11 attack to ensure the safety and common good of the American people. This act is supposed to oppose terrorism acts and communications in every way possible. It is mainly known for the NSA, which is a government organization, that can unlock phones (with a warrant, most importantly), and can can intercept suspicious terrorist activity in our country. Without this act, there could have been multiple bombings in the landmarks of our country, such as Times Square. This act is a neccessity of our safety and I will continue to support it, as long as the government doesn’t ask for a master key to unlock every iPhone with the updated software.
    The fact that the government is asking for this is ridiculous. A master key to unlock any iPhone on the next update would mean the government can search and unlock all of the information that is on any device that apple produces. This would of course require another update in the iPhone’s firmware. Most of us are running on iOS 9 and this would require apple to have a master key in iOS 10. This would cause an overwhelming abundance of information to go into the governments hands. The downside of it, however, is that if the information of this master key gets intercepted and falls into the wrong hands, would cause some serious issues.
    Since iOS 8, the company has encrypted their devices to make sure the code cannot be broken. However, funny enough, the code still can be broken even in its latest firmware, iOS 9. There is an act call jailbreaking, which causes a software to customize the iPhone in terms of cosmetic appearance, and gives the owner of the phone full control to download illegal music, games, and as well as customizing the look of apps. Funny enough, there is a video devoted to how it can be done here:
    A company called Pangu can jailbreak a phone’s encryption and will unlock the phone and give the user full control over their device. However, it can only be done if the phone is on “DFU” mode, a combination of holding the sleep and home button and lets the software to decode the device. If a company like Apple can still get their code “decoded”, than that is something to think about.
    In addition, the government has been hacked in the past. A decent hacker that wants his hands on the master key, he/she will be able to get it from the government.
    Lets say worse case scenario, that this master key is created and does fall into the wrong hands. This would mean the hacker has the master key to unlock any iPhone and can cause emotional, financial, and other major issues. This hacker can get access to bank accounts, financial records, and even social security numbers if they exist somewhere on the phone. If you have an eBay app, or a paypal app, or a banking app, that hacker would have access to it due to the master key that the government is now asking for Apple.
    The only way to fix the issue if a hacker does get it would be to create another firmware that would not let the master key get in any longer. However, making a new firmware only happens every 8 months or so, causing the hacker to be able to get what he/she wants in that time period. All in all, this would be an idiotic move by both the government and Apple (even if they do not want to do it) to create such a universal and overpowering code decryption. It would do more harm than good, and I agree with chief Tim Cook’s statement on not creating this type of power for our U.S. government. It has the potential to fall into the wrong hands.

  2. Li You February 19, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

    I think if once this software is been designed, then it will lead to unpredictable consequences. In fact this is for the government intervention and it can opened Pandora’s Box. The government may require the company to use this way they design the “lock what they need. But the government also wants to take the master key. This will bring risk on privacy safety of the customer’s and security of person carries. In addition use the words from Tim Cook, the government” who can open the hundreds of millions of lock. Which from the hotel to the bank, to retail stores, and to the individual’s house? I think no one will acceptable that. “However, this way is also the government opened the door for other countries. The Cook said that” the government can broaden the scope of the infringement of privacy. They required apple to develop monitoring software to intercept your information, and you even don’t know. In order to check your data records or financial data, track your position, or monitoring the microphone and phone’ camera. “This kind of situation under the broad masses of the people and cannot have sense of security. So in that situation we have to no reservations are exposed in the government’s monitoring. Although the United States government wants to make us believe that they will not abuse this technology. But we can imagine that this technique can be used by many ways. Even if we choose to believe that the U.S. government will not abuse. But once created such a master key the other governments will certainly require apple to provide this technology. It also will endanger the safety of the other countries citizens. Once appear such technology who can guarantee in the case of without court permission government would not misuse? Who can says that others could not find a way to use the back door? In addition, the government in the aspect of information security is no perfect record. The criminal suspect or a foreign government will within the government agencies use of such software those are unknown. So I agree with the views in the article. This software cannot be developed, even if the intention is good. On the other hand, if such software is developed and then it fall into the hands of criminals. So our personal safety will be more insecure. Originally criminals need to spend a lot of time to plan and to crack. Imagine if this software was developed. They can easily know all the things they want to know. So how to protect us and how to stop them? I support Tim’s point of view which is to actively cooperate with the government of all the requirements. And make sure to complete all the requirements. But the back door software must not be invented.

  3. Vince DeBartolomeis February 19, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    The prospect of the government, or anyone really, owning a software that can unlock any iPhone is a scary thought, especially when many Americans have iPhones. A study done in January 2014 found that 94 million iPhones were in use in the United States. That’s well over 1 in 4 Americans having an iPhone and those numbers have most likely gone up in the past two years. However, I think that if the software is put in the right hands and used exclusively for the right reasons, that it could bring a lot of good such as in a circumstance as this. I understand Apple’s claim and their reasoning behind their opinion. Companies such as Facebook have been under scrutiny lately for giving out people’s private information and Apple does not want to do that to their customers. It is understandable that Apple would be protective about creating such a powerful software because of what it could potentially do. If someone with bad intentions got a hold of this software, a lot of harm could be done not to mention a large breach of privacy. However, if Apple and the FBI are careful in ensuring that this software is kept safe and exclusive to certain cases, then it could bring a lot of good. With there being such a large number of Americans that use iPhones, cases such as this could be solved or resolved much easier. The biggest difficulty in this situation is to ensure that the software not only stays in the right hands, but also is only used for the correct reasons. If the FBI is found to be looking in innocent people’s iPhones and privacy without any significant reasoning, then Apple should take away the software. There would have to be a very fine line for the FBI to use the software, especially as people have become more defensive and aware about their personal privacy. The software should be used exclusively in cases such as this to prevent or solve terrorism or other crimes.
    Although the idea of the FBI exclusively having the software is great in theory, it would be very difficult to carry out. A third party would need to keep an eye on the FBI to make sure that they are using the software in the right places and that it does not get in the wrong hands. Because I don’t trust the government with this kind of power and responsibility, I think that Apple is making the right decision. I believe that the government would start to use this software in areas that it should not be and would use it improperly. I commend Apple for standing strong and not giving in to the demands of the government as it believes that iPhone users have a right to their privacy. I feel that it would be very difficult for Apple to keep the government in check if they gave them this type of software and ultimately Apple would be scrutinized if the FBI started using it the wrong way or if the software got in the wrong hands. Overall, it is a great idea in theory for the FBI to have a backdoor software to use in cases such as this, but since the government cannot be trusted and risk is very high, things are best the way they are now.

  4. Matthew Ehrhardt February 19, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

    After reading so many blog posts about technological privacy I now believe that I have some insight into this issue. This article is one of the more intriguing ones that I have read however. This is one of those cases where you can look at all the information at face value and thin of how easy it is for the issue to be resolved. As easy as the issue may seem at first glance it is actually quite complex. Personally I am on Apple’s side (of course being a consumer who uses their product) even if their actions are hinder an FBI investigation. Just like Tim Cook explained, if apple does what the court wants them to do it could possibly jeopardize the safety and privacy of millions of people all around the world.
    What is so interesting about this article is not just how complicated this case is going to be. The truly interesting thing about this case is that it is revealing how much safer apple products are starting to become. Before reading this article I just assumed that anyone with the right know-how could just jailbreak my iPhone and just steal any information they desire. To be quite frank, the information protection being provided by Iphone’s IOS 8 update is pretty surprising and relieving. The main reason this is a surprise of course is because I failed to read the entire terms and agreements when I update my phone (I have also failed to come in contact with anyone who has done that). The intense encryption described here by Apple Chief Tim Cook is something that has been issue with technology ever since Edward Snowden released all of the American Government spy techniques which included the reading of millions of American’s texts and calls. Of course it was all for security so it does have some reasoning, but it also displeased a large majority of the nation. Even those who weren’t exactly offended by the incident still came away from the news with some skepticism. Especially after reading so may articles about how hard it is to have private information when using technology t message people and share information from phone to phone.
    The ethical issue that arises here is that apple, a world famous company, is refusing to help open one of their products used to store information by a murderer. Of course at first glance this seems like quite a punch in the gut to Apple’s HR department, but they shouldn’t be blamed for their lack of help to the issue. They have a completely legal encryption protection software in all of their phones so that all information is protected from what the article describes to be ‘brute attackers’. Now the American government isn’t exactly a brute hacker of course, but they are trying to illegally change the software that is legally produced by a private company. Once the phone is sold (legally) to an individual any information that is put in the phone is protected by the software of the phone, not by the company itself. So Apple isn’t just trying to assist a murderer here, they are just trying to protect their software and their other consumers from violation of privacy laws.

  5. Matthew Bacho February 19, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

    Apple’s Tim Cook was faced with a difficult situation in which the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation gave him a court order to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s IPhone. California Federal Judge ordered Apple to help the FBI conduct their investigation through the killer, Syed Rizwan Farook’s IPhone 5C. Tim Cook found this to be an overreach in government power, an invasion to peoples’ privacy. The basic principle in mind was the government has the power to check Farook’s phone, what is to stop them from checking everyone else’s. In the past, Apple has helped the government patch into IPhones and other Apple products when provided the appropriate warrants. However, now that IPhones are running IOS 9.2.1, the phone’s encryptions are much more secure, and have been since the launch of IOS 8. With this higher level of encryption, it was entirely feasible for Apple to be incapable of responding to the government’s request to unlock the IPhone. Not to mention the obvious invasion of privacy that it entails. Though Farook did an atrocious thing, this kind of power in the hands of the government is overstepping its boundaries. Though there are things like the Patriot Act, which enables the government to monitor phone calls, texts, and emails, the purpose was to track down possible terrorists only. Even with that act, people still question the invasion of privacy that exists in the government and society. The Judge, Sheri Pym ordered Apple to introduce a backdoor to the encryptions to allow the FBI access in these kind of situations. This did not please Tim Cook at all, and it is hard to blame him. The court order basically enables the FBI to bypass the security codes on the lock screen, avoid the risk of auto erasing all information, and avoid any delays. The main issue with this that Tim Cook and many others see is the matter of hacking. Though it should be natural that we help out the government in their efforts to thwart terrorists and other harm-doers, it should not come at everyone else’s risk. If the government will have the means to bypass the encryption, then so will hackers and other cyber terrorists. Right now, if someone stole your IPhone, it would essentially become a brick; a very expensive brick, but useless either way. The encryptions locking the phone are nearly impossible to bypass, and with good reason. If the government had the means to bypass these, then it would be entirely possible for other, not well intentioned people to get it as well. Tim Cook published an open letter describing his lack of desire to create such a back door to invade our privacy, and was geared to everyone. Those in Europe saw it first, and if such a backdoor were created, then naturally European government would get it as well. This would make A LOT of people irritated and unhappy with the government, as well as unsecure from potential hackers. I found this a very interesting article as it gave me a higher respect for Tim Cook, while I never thought of him as anywhere near Steve Jobs, he definitely has his good moments, like now. Tim Cook acknowledges the good intent of the FBI and government, but does not like the idea of being forced into creating a backdoor, and should not be forced to. I agree with Tim Cook completely in that sense and respect his decision.

  6. Michael Quinto-Lopez February 19, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

    In this online article, it states that the US government wants Apple, a multinational technology company, to create a backdoor to one of its most successful products, the iPhone. By backdoor, the US government wants Apple to create a new version of the iPhone operating system in which it will allow the US government to unlock and have access to the mobile device of any person thought of wrong doing. Just as Tim Cook, Apple chief, states, he doesn’t believe that the US government intentions are bad, in fact, he believes their intentions are rather good. However, what is concerning Tim Cook is that if this backdoor be created by the Apple and it fall into the wrong hands, they would have the ability to access to any iPhone in use. Apple has decided to not go forth with the governments court ordered iPhone backdoor proposal, and stands by the fact that they simply want to protect their customer’s safety and privacy. Now, can you really blame Tim Cook from rejecting the idea of creating a backdoor to the iPhone operating system? I don’t believe that Tim Cook is at wrong for standing up against the US government and fighting for the banishment of this order from the government. Within the article, it says that Apple has always complied to extract data from iPhone’s whenever issued an appropriate warrant. So why the need for Apple to create this backdoor in order for the US government to have access to any iPhone? Apple in the past has obeyed whenever given a warrant, why not continue sticking to that method? Why have the safety and privacy of iPhone user be at an even greater risk?

    I agree with what Tom Cook says in a quote within the article that says, “We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the US government”. This is definitely an overreach by the US government because there is no need to create this backdoor. I don’t feel that this backdoor should be created because the government will have access to any iPhone. I don’t believe that Apple customers will be fully comfortable or accepting of this idea of the government being able to access their personal information within their mobile device. Even though I am not an iPhone user, I am asking myself if this backdoor order actually happens for the iPhone operating system, will the government then proceed to have the ability to have this backdoor to every mobile device, not specifically just iPhones? Now this is definitely something that I am not fond of happening in the near future. Another significant reason why I believe that this backdoor shouldn’t become a reality, is the fact if someone were obtain such access, it puts us customers at a huge risk. People around the world store personal and valuable information within their mobile device, and the chance for this to happen, is in my opinion not worth of creation. And with such power intended for government use only, and it fall into the wrong hands, it could be problematic. Therefore, Apple should continue their efforts into trying to fight the US government from making them create a backdoor. As Tim Cook shows love and respect for the governments intentions, he believes that if the government makes them create a backdoor to their devices, it will not be just.

  7. Gerry Kiruthu February 19, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

    The thought that the world is coming to this is kind of decision or trial extremely scary and shocking to the American population. It is evident that the constant prowl and search for more power and knowledge is both a human strength and weakness at the same time. The need to have intelligence for our benefit has become scary to think about because we are now smarter consumers, not as naïve as corporations, political candidates, and in this case, the federal government may assume that we are. Not only has Tim Cook taken a stance in this case or trial, but the American population and a concerned international community has taken notice of these new pieces of rattling information and are speaking out in a very loud and passionate way. To backtrack, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is working on an investigation dealing with last year’s Saint Bernadino shooting in California. The couple involved are said to be terrorists after the fact and the FBI wants to gain access to one of the suspect’s cell phone to retrieve further information on the attack and information on their affiliation to more potentially harmful/ criminal activities. The cell phone in question is the Apple iPhone. The FBI initially asked Apple if they could hack into the suspect’s iPhone and Apple refused. That has now spiraled completely out of control with the FBI, the Justice System and Apple at a crossroads where they are asking Apple to create a backchannel to access information on the iPhone. Since Apple has denied to do this, a bill is being drafted to federally penalize corporations or firms that refuse to comply with federal branches of the government such as the FBI.
    If this is to pass and become law, the world of technology today is doomed as we know it. If a law is passed which orders Apple to create a backchannel to their software, this means that the government has all our secrets and undoubted information at will, legally. They have argued that this law is only to be used once, in this Saint Bernadino case, but we all know that that is completely and utterly false. As we have seen in the past using, a law such as the Patriot Act has been used to argue for the legalization of new government practices that attack our privacy as consumers of technology.
    Slowly and slowly the irresponsible, greedy, and overzealous legislature has been attacking our privacy and has opened a pathway to the situation that we are experiencing today. The founder of McAfee, one of the largest and best security systems in the world, Kevin McAfee said on February 18, 2016 that the FBI should let him and his team of hackers work on hacking the iPhone so that the law does not have to pass. As we know most of our livelihoods and secrets are secured in our handheld devices. Once again, the scare that the government may have a hold of all this information scares us users because we cannot hide anymore.
    Tim Cook’s stance is logical and cautionary. What he and other experts in the field are arguing and stating is basically the same: they are stating that the genesis of this type of legislature is also the genesis to the decline of our entire privacy protection benefits. The United States is a constant target for cyber threats in branches as crucial as the Department of Defense, and those are significantly more protected than our measly iPhones. We would now be targets of those cyber threats and we would have no protection against it. IOS 8 was designed to keep the government’s greedy arm away from our extremely personal lives, but now the federal government is not in control anymore and wants what they cannot have.

  8. Bianca Vigo February 19, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    This issue immediately brought this quote to the forefront of my mind; “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both” – Benjamin Franklin. This quote speaks many volumes to this article. First off, if apple were to create a way into the iPhone, the main concern is that this also opens vulnerabilities for other people, namely hackers, to exploit. While persons are obviously terrified of terrorist attacks, what happens when the same terrorists this is designed to catch end up manipulating the software and are able to use it to their advantage. Then there will be no liberty and there will be no safety. The implementation of Apple carrying out this court order will be a slippery slope.
    They also mentioned other ways for Apple to carry out this order that won’t infringe upon its security, such as, basically removing the “self-destruct” feature, removing password attempt delays which makes the process of hacking the phone much longer etc. While Apple has carried out such requests before, concerning allowing access to iPhones, they took precise measure in order to protect themselves and their customers from such demands. One of the main reasons Apple sells for buying its products is the level of security and privacy they provide. The government is trying to force a company to violate its own promises to its customers. This will deter persons from buying the company’s products on the basis of security. This may be one reason for Apple to fight this order.
    Another Reason they may want to fight this order is because this is an overreach by the government. The government says that this is just for this specific phone. But what happens now that the government figures out that there is a way for Apple to do this? Where will it stop? How many more phones will they have to essentially provide access to? How much will it cost apple to carry out this order? Not only will it take a large amount of labour hours for Apple to even carry out this order but think about the losses they may have in terms of sales. I believe the government has enough resources, that, if they really wanted to decrypt this phone, they would make the investment themselves. Such as in the Clinton administration when they tried to forcibly get companies to allot them access to telecommunications networks. They eventually developed a government issue tapping device and gained the access they needed.
    As a citizen I am more sceptical about what the government would do with such access and knowledge. They already show that they are not afraid to exert their power to get exactly what they want. What would happen in the future if let’s say in the future they are not under terroristic threats, I know, but let’s just say. What if they have nothing better to do than to snoop around the average John Doe’s life, then where do we turn to for protection? I think Apple is making a good move by fighting this court order and I hope they are successful in doing so.

  9. Austin Lopes February 19, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

    Reading this article and the initial reason why the FBI wanted Apple to implement this back door leaves me in shock. Why Apple would not give access to valuable information that may lead to something else or even why this man took part in such a crazy incident, is truly absurd to me. First, because we are at risk if another and second it is the FBI we are talking about, how could they not take orders from such a lethal respected force. Obtaining the information could have been the next bust in what other people that were linked to him could be planning on doing or are about to do. Apple in that perspective did not look out for the greater good for the citizens of the United States, in terms of their safety. However, I can look at it from another perspective as well and see where Apple is coming from. I believe that Apple did the right thing in not giving the FBI their word in attempting to implement a back door in the IOS programing of an IPhone. I believe this because the government already has so much access to everything we do, we as citizens in the United States barely have any privacy at all. Everything we do from the amount of water we waste in a month, what clothes we buy, what we search on the web, where we are according to location devices on our phone, what we buy, what we earn, and just anything a person can think of is tracked some way somehow. All of which could be easily obtained by the government. Now, giving the government a back door into our personal mobile devices would be even more devastating. We would have no chance in keeping something a secret or private to our own lives. We have so much digital tabs on us that google will know our life story better then we will when we are older do to how much information we put out on these devices and due to our very own memory loss. If that is not scary enough, then allowing the government to access our IPhone where we hold a lot of private information will be beyond frightful. Apple taking the first step, in a sense, of cutting back the governments control is a step towards the right direction. We talk about how much this land is the land of the free and we are the freest of all people, when in actuality we are probably the ones who are observed the most and have such an open data source about each individual. Even though Apple did not look after our security at that moment in time they are looking after our personal security in the long run. If Apple were to give the FBI access to our devices they could essentially hack into anyone of our devices as they pleased. Giving them that power is like giving them the key to our minds in this day and age. We have been so heavily consumed by these devices that we have to learn how to keep these devices secure and put away from the wrong hands or even the good hands with wrong intentions. Thanks to Apple we can now say we are coming one step closer to that safety, because as we know the good guys have been showing mass demonstrations of brute force and this is one we want to steer clear of.

  10. Kira Williams February 19, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

    Apple is not going to comply with the court order to help unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s phone. Because of iOS 8’s feature default encryption by unlocking the phone in question would leave all iOS 8 users vulnerable to hackers. The FBI needs to get a hold of the information on that phone, but Apple CEO Tim Cook is not ready to possibly hand over the security of millions of iPhone users. Since Apple cannot just unlock the phone there would have to be a back door created that can get into the wrong hands and wreak havoc. It might not be understood that this software that needs to be created is 100 percent secure. It is not like it can be locked in a safe or guarded by troops; people who use their ability to code to hack could worm their ways right through.
    Apple is a multi-billion dollar company that has hundreds of millions of customers and Apple has their customers in mind. The company does not feel it is right for the government to force them to create something that could potentially have harmful effects. With technology booming futuristic movies with plots of super computers being hacked and the world thrown into disaster is not so far-fetched anymore. If Apple follows through with the warrant then it would only take one person to crack the code of the software and a science fiction movie plot would come true. People have their lives on their smartphones, bank apps, addresses, tax apps, you name it. Encryption keeps all of that personal information safe with the touch a finger print of a passcode, but with a back door encryption would not be so protective anymore. The FBI does have good intentions, as cited in the article by Sebastian Anthony, but those intentions are clouded with potential risk.
    It was interesting to read that Tim Cook released his letter at a time that the majority of the American public would not see. It is involving the American government, but Apple products and customer base is not only in the United States. Software is universal so the globe would be subjected to this back door and worldwide privacy would be another issue at hand. According to the Center for Media, Data, and Society, half of the privacy breaches in Europe have been internal. The last thing Europe needs is the government and other organizations to have its hands on software that can invade the privacy of the European population. Tim Cook made a smart business move to release the letter at a time that Europe would see it front and center in the news. This will not be a fight for domestic Apple users but for those overseas, as well. Anyone who runs iOS 8 could be breached; this is one instance where I am happy I do not own an iPhone, even though the same thing could happen to Android.
    Issues of privacy are rising everywhere and it is worrisome to think about how protected thinks it is, compared to how protected it actually is. The government is growing with its evasiveness, especially with acts of terror erupting all over the world. Apple has the right idea to protect its consumers, but when dealing with the government where does good intention stop and the power of the government start? This one issue can be a conversation starter for future software creation because will there have to be new norms for the government to break into a phone for investigations, like the being conducted on the San Bernardino shooting. There is a difficult balance to maintain the safety of their public but also respecting their privacy. I do not know whether it will be good necessarily if Apple is successful in going against the order for a backdoor because weighing the severity of terroristic acts compared to digital safety is subjective.


  11. Tyler Truong February 19, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

    This article has two sides. One side is on the side of American freedom and retaining the right to privacy within our iPhones. The other side is the side of the FBI and United States government, which I myself don’t exactly trust. Tim Cook states that the FBI is requiring him to essentially build a backdoor to the iPhone for them. This backdoor, so to speak, will enable anyone to unlock and decrypt any iPhone within their physical possession. If this tool is given to the wrong person or makes its way to the wrong hands would enable the person, specifically the government, to find incriminating evidence without the user’s consent. This would just add on to the long list of things that the government has access to. The iPhone’s share in the United States smartphone market is currently 43.6%, followed by Samsung with 27.6%. This comes out to about 94 million iPhone users currently living in the United States. The sheer power that the government will hold by owning and using this iPhone backdoor could potentially impact all of these people. Their personal data and privacy of millions of Americans would most definitely be compromised by the government. This is a complete overreach by the United States government that puts them in a complete power trip. Apple is the doing the right thing by preventing the government from having complete power over their user base and their data. Tim Cook is fighting for the people and his clients and I completely back him and his decisions. We need more people in power to fight against unjust use of power, aka the government having access to millions of American’s personal iPhone data.

  12. Meghna Shah February 19, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

    According to the article “Tim Cooks say Apple will fight US government over court-ordered iPhone backdoor” by Sebastian Anthony points out some critical points that concern every iPhone user. In my opinion Apple is taking this issue in a good manner. My reasoning is because if Apple helps out one person and unlocks the phone it will everyone will want this special permission. Other individuals may come up with another reason to get someone’s phone unlocked. Another reason is it will give hackers a way to unlock phones. They will know that’s theirs a way to unlock a phone and that it is not impossible. It will concern every consumer who buys an iPhone knowing everything on their phone is not private and anyone can hack into it and see all their private documents and information.

    I think Apple handed this issue with the best of their ability. They did it in a way to make every consumer trust Apple knowing no one is giving away their private information and keeping their privacy secure. Technology is getting bigger and bigger and as years past it is only going to get more advanced. The most important thing is for everyone to keep all of their information as secure as possible.

  13. David Webster February 19, 2016 at 9:00 pm #

    On December 2nd, 2015, a fatal attack by a shooter in San Bernardino, CA., left 14 killed and 22 in critical condition. It was a horrible act by the man behind the gun, and something that traumatized and scarred this CA community, as well as the families involved.
    It is no surprise that police want to hack into the phone of Syed Rizwan, who is the person responsible for this tragedy. In order to do this, however, the government is required to bypass a high level of encryption which exists on the operating system of all new apple products. Apple CEO has aggressively fought back against the request by the government to allow them to hack into Rizwan’s phone through the backdoor. The issue raises moral questions about government reach and government spying. That said, I don’t think there are any reasonable people who would oppose this act, as it could give the government crucial information on a terrible man.
    Cook makes a simple argument, however, stating that Apple simply does not have the capabilities to break into this phone. But, quite frankly, I see a big, stinking flag of ‘BS’ on this statement. In fact, it infuriates me! Tim Cook knows good and well that if they wanted to hack into that man’s cell phone, they absolute, 100%, no doubt about it could. The line that he uses, which is quoted in this article, infuriates me even further and makes my stomach churn. “Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and cannot access your data.” Its obvious what this is all about to Tim Cook. Marketing.
    Forbes published an article recently calling Cook’s bluff, and saying it was for the same reason. Apple is trying to say that the court order for unlocking the phone is “Undue Burden.” Basically, the Undue Burden standard says that the Legislature cannot make a particular law that is too burdensome or restrictive of one’s fundamental rights. However, the government isn’t buying that plea. Just today, the justice department said, “To the extent that Apple claims that the Order is unreasonably burdensome because it undermines Apple’s marketing strategies or because it fears criticism for providing lawful access to the government, these concerns do not establish an undue burden.”
    Personally, I hope that Apple is forced to unlock the phone. It makes me truly upset to think that they would go against this order simply because of a marketing ploy.

  14. Donald O'Connor February 19, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

    This article is one of great concern for any user of an Apple product. Apple has a huge following of customers that come from a multitude of different states and different countries that use iPhones and store an enormous amount of person information on their devices. The data within their phones is supposed to be private information that should not be able to be taken or disclosed by any means. It is bad enough that all the information of phone calls, text messages, and web browsing information is collected already, but if Apple created a backdoor that allowed a “direct passcode input through the iPhone’s Lightning port, and no additional delay between passcode attempts” to access the information on the iPhone it could create some easy and dangerous means of accessing any iPhone users phone. If there was a capability for Apple to create such a software and actually access an iPhone through their encryption it could pose a huge threat to the company’s iPhone users and the users worldwide. If the ability to access any iPhone were placed within the wrong hands it could result in many people losing a lot of their own money.
    It is also is a great thing that the current chief of Apple, Tim Cook, was opposed to allowing the capability of making a way to decrypt a passcode. It shows that to an extent that Apple does care about their product and their customers who purchase their goods. Generally, it seems as if Apple does not care about the consumer who buy their goods because of the commonly perceived idea that apple makes products that generally break over a short amount of time.
    The biggest quarrel I have with this article is that the FBI and the United States government keep demanding for things that break an individual’s right to privacy. First from the phones being monitored, next to the use of XKEYSCORE, and now demanding access through people’s passcodes. The government continues to push the boundaries of people’s privacy and the decency the people deserve which is to have their information contained to themselves. If the FBI were able have Apple create this technology of being able to bypass the security on the phone, the FBI could potentially find a way to steal the ability to enter into the phone. If they had that they could use it to enter anyone’s cellphone and take all the information they would need. Not to mention the fact if the bypassing system was created it would most likely mean other countries would be able to ascertain that system and use it as well. If other countries were to obtain it, it would mean not only would there be concern within the United States, but one would need to be wary about all the other countries all over the globe.

  15. Timothy Wagner February 20, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    This topic has really grabbed my interest. Apple has created very unique and well developed softwares, computers, phones and watches. While developing all of this technology they have always kept in mind their customers’ privacy. When iOS 8 came out Apple created a default in their software that would encrypt the data on the phone. If you try the password too many times you could possibly erase all that information forever. The article states that this feature was really only created to keep the government out of the privacy of someones phone. In todays world, we are seeing data breaches that have caused tons of private data to become available to identity thieves by hackers. I strongly believe that after all the outbreaks Apple took that into consideration and created a more secure iOS in order to protect their customers. Think about it, we keep all our private information in our phones. We can even pay for a purchase using what’s known as Apple Pay. This capability keeps our credit card information and transmits it through our phones to the credit card reader with verification of our fingerprint. This has almost eliminated the need of having to carry our credit cards or debit cards with us. We also have all of our other private information, including our photos, videos, text messages, phone calls, voicemails, emails, social media accounts and anything else people keep in their phones, right at the palm of our fingers. This information is considered to be private to us and we want it kept that way.

    Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe that Apple is somewhat in the wrong. I feel as if the information requested from the government that is to help with an investigation of a terrorist attack, terroristic threat, criminal case etc. that information needs to be handed over. There could be really important information on that phone. You never know, the government could go through the emails and find an email showing a timeline of events as to what will happen next. Apple has only been the most helpful when it comes to these types of cases in the past, so why stop now? I also don’t agree with the fact that Apple published this letter and information on their website for every customer to read. I feel as if this was just a way for them to draw in more attention to the issue and to make the government look bad. It isn’t about that. The information that is valuable to the case could be in that phone. The government was able to come up with a warrant and basically Apple is saying no. At the end of the day, both sides are wrong. Apple is wrong for making such a big deal about the issue to draw attention so other companies, like tech companies, and outraged customers would join them in the battle with the government. They are also in the wrong for not releasing information on an iPhone that pertains to a terrorist attack. The government is wrong in forcing apple to create a breach in their security systems and to try and force them to jeopardize the privacy of their customers.

    When it comes to the back door issue. I agree with Apple when they say that they don’t think this is just going to be a one time thing. I can pretty much guarantee that something like this will happen in the future, not an attack, but a request of information, where the government wants access and they will get it thru this back door maneuver. I feel that the proper way to handle this is to create a software that is meeting the government’s demands. Apple should state that they control the usage of the software and it should be kept in a server that can be put offline when not in use to prevent hackers from gaining access within it. If the government needs something it must be within reason and they must have a warrant. The issues must be for large scale issues and nothing less. The government must specify the information that they need and Apple should hand over that information in a detailed report. I feel that if they don’t do this the government will just get someone else that can do it for them. Someone that can hack the phone and get all the information straight from it. Why not settle the issue in a civil matter rather than a large issue.

  16. Eb_rider February 20, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    I think Apple CEO Tim Cook is doing the right thing for us to protect us from government overreach. What the government essentially ordered Apple to do is to lower its safety features on all phone gadgets so that FBI can hack into our phones whenever and wherever they want with a breeze. This is not just about unlocking one particular phone used by the San Bernardino gunman to solve the case, the government want the access to all our phones. I call it sacrificing millions of users’ privacy rights to catch a few and it is unwise. iPhone users should have every right to privacy and should do whatever it takes to prevent the government from carrying out this plan. It’s sad to say that I trust a private company like Apple more than the U.S. government as far as protecting our data. After the biggest data breach(https://www.opm.gov/blogs/Director/2015/10/1/Notifying-Those-Impacted-by-the-Recent-Cyber-Intrusion/ ) in the U.S history happened right under the nose of the government in 2015, in which 21.5 million soldiers, government workers, Federal project contractors and their cohabiters’ had their social security numbers, finger prints and other confidential personal data stolen, would you ever trust the government to safeguard your data and make the decisions about what to do with your data? Obviously not!

    Apple has the every reason to refuse writing a de-encryption software to allow the F.B.I. to have a “back door” to access any smartphones they wish. If the government can access our phones, what would stop hackers, criminals, or terrorists to use the back door to hack into phones as well? Apple is doing very right thing for its users to fight the Justice Department.


  17. Bryan Cimino February 24, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    Many issues arise when evaluating Apples case to unlock the iPhone used in the San Bernardino Shooting. Instead of looking at this issue from Apple’s perspective, we will evaluate the perspective of the FBI. Many of us had those days where there was an extreme circumstance and you had to miss class to get other work done. Usually your Professor will not excuse you for your situation, because if that were the case, simply he or she would have to let everyone be excused. Now many of you have political views of the Government, and will try to stay unbiased when overlooking this specific situation.
    The FBI is requesting that Apple create a “crippled” version of their new iOS 9 software to unlock the suspects phone. Additionally, Apple created it products to protect it consumers, not open security loopholes. The FBI wants to use “Brute Hacking” which is guessing passwords, but if the suspect has the auto-erase feature then hacking would be pointless. Apple now has to undo the multiple security features for that one phone, if Apple decides to cooperate. This special legal request can cause some future concerns for phone software updates in the future. Let’s say Apple released iOS 10 for the iPhone, but this time it has implemented special government features that the FBI can use that’s embedded into the new software. This can cause consumer brand loyalty issues, and as a result people who are Apple users may emotionally feel some invasion of privacy. Also, Apple’s stocks would take a tremendous drop, which if stocks go down that may show a sign of lost consumers.
    If Apple is going to decide to unlock the suspects iPhone to gather information, then Apple has to make their software universal and open to the public. The only way Apple can avoid the Government passing a special policy, is to do a one-time exception. I believe companies that work with Government agencies should be able to do one-time exceptions to help law enforcement unlocked encrypted password protected phones of a suspected criminal when justified. Passing a national law for all phones specifically Apple smartphones, can cause huge controversy and possibly class action lawsuits.

  18. Jessica Spreen February 26, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    I have always been interested in articles about technology and privacy because in this day and age, everyone would be effected indirectly. This article, however, is different to me because it would directly be affecting me with the issuing of a backdoor for iPhones. I am indifferent about this situation because on one hand, I feel that Apple should allow the FBI this backdoor because I have confidence in the U.S. government to keep this type of power secure so no one else has access to it. Apple is continuously growing as, “Apple sold a record-breaking 74.5 million iPhones worldwide in the last fiscal quarter,” making the chances of any criminal having an iPhone very high so this type of technology would be an asset for the government. http://www.cnet.com/news/nearly-100m-iphones-in-use-in-the-us-new-study-shows/ The large number of iPhone users shows how the FBI can use this new technology for more than one purpose and can help catch more criminals.
    On the other hand, with having such a high selling rate of iPhones, that means that there are a lot of regular citizens who have iPhones as well. With the technology that Apple was ordered to implement from a federal judge in California, Apple would be able to unlock and access any iPhone. That includes innocent and harmless iPhone users. If someone is able to get their hands on this information, the amount of power that they could have could be one of the biggest threats. A person can access thousands of bank accounts, have access to innocent people’s personal information, single handedly being able to do lasting damage with one device. I think that Cook has every right to be defensive with this action because as the current chief of Apple, he only has his customer’s best intentions in mind. Not only does he have his customer’s best intentions in mind but he also has his as well, being that if he were to let this act go without a fight, he could have lost a lot of customers.
    I ultimately agree with Tim Cook’s stance on this because it is a breach of privacy for not only criminals but everyone. One ideal that Apple prides themselves in is the fact that all of their information is private and protected but with this new backdoor, they will lose this edge. Tim Cook states, “We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack,” and that is a risk that he does not wish to take. The number of possibilities that can go wrong with this type of technology is too much of a risk that Cook is not willing to take without putting up a fight. This breach of security is a very realistic fear because the number of people who keep their personal information on their phones in today’s day and age is a good amount of the population. If this technology were to get leaked or stolen, a lot of the population would be in danger. People keep their bank accounts, address, social security numbers, and other important personal information on their devices that could truly harm them in the long run. Right now, it is protected so they can keep all of that information on their devices and not have to worry about any privacy leaks.
    I was very surprised at the timing that Cook released the letter because he released it at midnight so the American public wouldn’t see it till they woke up. However, it was right around the time when the people in Europe were just waking up and they are usually ones to value their privacy. I did not realize that this technology would be carried over into the European countries and I am curious to see how they reacted. I think this was a smart move in his part as it will give him as well as Apple a lot of publicity but will also notify the citizens of what may happen.
    Throughout reading multiple blogs and articles, I have come to the conclusion that online privacy only has a short time frame left of its life. With the amount of sites that are asking for personal information and the amount of intrusions that is being done by different organizations is growing faster than we wish to realize. Even though we all still value our privacy, we are now being forced to give it up little by little over time. Our next move will be to ask ourselves if we are willing to give it up to get what we want.

  19. Spencer Ross February 26, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

    The denunciation of the FBI’s motion to access the “iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook” was an attempt to preserve Apple’s public image. They realize that their customers value their security above all else, Apple Inc. has been one of the leading manufacturers of mobile devices with advanced security software. The CEO of Apple has shown his disapproval over the court order for Apple to aid the federal government in unlocking this device. Reuters.com states that “case represents the latest episode in a long-running dispute between tech companies and law enforcement over encryption”. It may be true that this case could allow for the government to have the upper hand with this precedence for future cases, however the government has repeatedly stated that this is simply about an active investigation of highly criminal activity where the FBI has reason to believe that the Apple phone has information that could contribute to how this attack was orchestrated. The FBI says the phone could allow law enforcement to predict future terrorist attacks through the plans on this device or through the communications that were made on this phone. The government has clear reasoning as to why they should be able to access the phone, however it is not feasible to access the phone through traditional means which is why the FBI needs to involve Apple in gaining access to the phone.
    CEO of Apple Tim Cook opposes the court order for Apple to install “a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features”. He argues that although the government may intend to use the software in this instance only, there is no guarantee that the software will remain controlled. The ability to hack into any IPhone that you have a physical connection to is not a good thing for people to have access to. This stance on the issue will please many Americans who are opposed to the government’s ability to have access to the personal information on our devices. However the opinion of Tim Cook, in essence, is the public opinion of Apple, his actions represent the company, therefore there is a strategic business side to this decision. Tim Cook’s argument does fail to identify how exactly giving this information to the government will harm people’s security, specifically he should generate an argument that clearly shows how the public could access the updated operating system that the government wants Apple to make. Tim Cook fails to articulate how exactly that this information will be leaked by the government, he says that there is no guarantee for such control. His point can be seen clearly that nothing is certain and the creation of this software could be detrimental to the security and privacy of consumers. However this is simply a risk in the long run where there is an equal chance that this breach in security will never happen. Apple should consider what they can do versus what may happen later. Also, I am sure either the government or Apple could collaborate on this issue to create a compromise so that the software that they create cannot be accessed by other people. I do not know the specifics of the technological limitations of the situation, but I find it hard to believe that there is not a solution to this issue that will please both sides.

  20. Miranda Martine February 26, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

    A person’s phone contains one’s life. It has everything from bank accounts to important dates to remember. I personally have everything on my phone. I keep more on my phone than my laptop. Having a phone to me means privacy, but the government seems like they want to take this away. If the government has the back door key to get into any phone in the U.S., then the trust of the American people will be terminated. The reason why the government wants to have the opportunity to access anyone’s phone is because of the San Bernardino gunman. They wanted to find out more about the shooting. I agree that the government should have access to a criminal’s phone after a shooting or after an attack, but having the power to break into innocent people’s phone is a huge invasion of privacy. I believe if Apple gives the government access to be able to get into other people’s phones then Apple will lose a lot of business. The customers will not be able to trust them and leave to another company. Citizens have the right for police officers or F.B.I to not invade private property without a warrant. In this case, this will give the government officials full access to look up anything without a warrant and that is against the rights of a citizen. Personally, I believe this is not a good idea for Apple to give the government access to information on how to unlock peoples’ phones.

  21. Alejandro Gonzalez April 8, 2016 at 11:23 pm #

    This is a very complicated issue that many was a very big issue at the time and still is a big issue. It’s primary concern is privacy for US citizens and residents. Apple refuses to give the FBI the keys to the backdoor of the iPhone. Once they are given the keys to that backdoor, they say that they will only use it this “one” time. Anyone that truly believes that is lost. This would set a precedent that the US government can ask for anything and that they would be able to get it. I’m glad that Tim Cook will fight this issue as I value my privacy. I don’t have anything to hide but I do like the fact that my personal and private information is truly my personal and private information and not the governments.

    The government says that they will take Apple to court over this issue which to me is extremely laughable. Apple has billions of dollars and the greatest lawyers. They could make this case last years if that is what they want. They would never back down from their word and it seems like Tim Cook will fight as long as it takes.

    The other main issue here is the reason the government is asking for a backdoor for this iPhone is because it was the phone of a terrorists. It was his personal phone and many people are saying that they should be given free reign of his phone because he was a terrorist. I completely understand the sentiment of these people but I do my privacy above all else. I’m glad Apple is following in their ethical and moral ways and not succumbing to the government and giving them the precedent that it is okay to do this.

  22. Veera Sandhu April 9, 2016 at 12:16 am #

    Knowing that the government can hack into my phone and can listen, obtain any data is a scary thought. This issue has opened my eyes more on the governments involvement for technology. Ever since an attack in San Bernardino, California. Two gunmen, later identified as husband and wife, opened fire in public, killing 14 and injuring another 22. They claimed allegiance to ISIS, the terror state. The resulting mayhem prompted the government to investigate fully the shooters and every aspect of their lives to determine greater motives, possible accomplices and to see if there were future attacks planned by their allies. Apple has integrated hardware encryption that, if the user activates it by enabling the passcode option, encrypts all data on the phone by locking it to a unique identifier.
    I understand that everyone’s worried about their safety and that if the government had monitored their calls and data, they would have avoided the attacks. The ethical issue that arises here is that apple, a world famous company, is refusing to help open one of their products used to store information by a murderer. Yes at first it is quite hash for apple not to cooperate but then it also has it’s own rules and regulation that it has to follow.
    Personally I’m on Apple’s side, just like Tim Cook explained, if apple does what the court wants them to do it could possibly jeopardize the safety and privacy of millions of people all around the world.

  23. Croix R March 20, 2019 at 8:29 pm #

    Although this article is a few years old, I find that it is still, if not more, relevant in today’s world. Tim Cook talks about how the US government wants Apple to create a backdoor into consumer’s iPhones. Apparently, Apple has been helping the government unlock certain iPhones for years. This was up until iOS 8. This issue finally came to a head when the government has asked Apple to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter. I do agree that it would be helpful for investigating agencies to have access to the data of mass murderers. However, this is the classic slippery slope argument. If Apple creates this backdoor, the government can just use it on anyone’s iPhone who they suspect is a criminal. This will even have implications globally where all iPhones would have this new backdoor. The governments having access to this backdoor may not even be the worst-case scenario. If this feature were introduced, it would open the door to criminal hackers having a new and simpler way to break into people’s phones.

    This is a tough situation for Apple to be in. On one hand, they want to assist in bringing in criminals. However on the other, they feel that it is wrong to introduce this new planned security flaw. On the business side of things, it would hurt Apple’s brand as well. Apple is known to be the gold standard for protecting user’s privacy. They are very upfront about what data they collect from you and what they are able to access. In fact, they added a new feature in the past year where you can request a report to see exactly what Apple knows about you. If they complied with the government some may lose faith in Apple. I agree with the stance that Tim Cook and Apple have taken to resolve this issue. They will help out the government as much as they can while still protecting their customer’s privacy.

    I researched what the outcome ended up being in the San Bernardino shootings case. According to a New York Times article the FBI ended up withdrawing their case and paid a third-party hacker to unlock the phone. This is still an ongoing issue as the government is still trying to get Apple and other smartphone makers to unlock phones. The article I researched also mentioned that Apple has recently introduced a patch to stop third party hackers from accessing phones. This will stop the government from doing what they did in the San Bernardino case. So again, we await what some said would be the battle of century. This refers to if this case actually goes to the supreme court. If it does, we will see where the government will rule on being allowed to force companies to introduce security flaws for their benefit.

    Works Cited
    Nicas, Jack. “Apple to Close IPhone Security Hole That Law Enforcement Uses to Crack Devices.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 June 2018, http://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/13/technology/apple-iphone-police.html

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