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.

Posted in Law, Privacy, Technology and tagged , , , , .

One Comment

  1. 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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