As you may have heard, there’s a legal battle brewing between Apple and the United States government and this could potentially be a battle between Apple and major countries where it has a presence. So what’s this all about?
There was a terrorist attack last year in San Bernardino, California. The suspects have been killed but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now seen the need to access an iPhone belonging to one of the deceased attackers. This now led the FBI to seek a warrant asking Apple to unlock the phone in order to make it accessible to investigators. In a Wall Street Journal interview last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple does not have a backdoor into its own newer iPhones. So what this court order simply means is that Apple now has to create a backdoor into this singular device for the FBI. This of course has been met with some resistance by Apple which is filing a counter motion to the order. In a statement on the Apple website, Mr. Cook says this would set a dangerous precedence and could ultimately lead to a serious vulnerability of its products. Because frankly speaking, how long will it take a hacker to exploit this for other purposes. This would essentially be that Apple would have to create a reverse operating system to what it currently has running. But the White House argues that this would be created for just this device and not all devices. But here’s what Tim Cook had to say about that ;
“Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.
The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”
The issue has even now found its way into the presidential campaigns with nearly all candidates supporting the decision of the FBI.
As of this morning, the number of tech firms and guys who have come out in support of Apple continues to grow with Facebook and Twitter also adding their voices in support.
Edward Snowden; the American National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who leaked classified government secrets and now stays in Russia even urged Google to add a voice to the calls against the FBI by tech firms. But analysts believe it would be easier for government agencies to break into Google’s Android phones especially in light of recent discovery of vulnerabilities.
So again we have yet before us a struggle between consumer privacy and national security and regardless of what side of the debate you’re on, this would likely be an issue for many years to come.