A slippery slope between Apple and the FBI
February 17, 2016 Leave a comment
The US government are at odds with Apple. The FBI got a judge in the Federal District Court for the District of Central California to order Apple to bypass security functions on an iPhone 5c used by Syed Rizwan Farook, who was killed by the police along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, after they attacked Mr. Farook’s co-workers at a holiday gathering in December 2015.
The judge ordered Apple to build special software that would essentially act as a skeleton key capable of unlocking the phone.
But Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Apple’s refusal to comply citing to protect the privacy of its users – even terrorists. [You can’t cherry pick them.] First there will be this issue, then there will be others. When will it stop.
The FBI says that by withholding access to the phone’s information, it is hampering the continuing investigation. Police and prosecutors want the companies to build what would be considered a master key that can be used to get around the encryption.
The Justice Department had secured a search warrant for the phone, owned by Mr. Farook’s former employer, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.
Blackberry was in the same dilemma but with foreign countries such as Pakistan where Pakistan wanted a master key to unencrypt any conversation or mail between two parties.
One needs to wonder whether Pakistan would go after solely what they would describe as terrorists or maybe even after those the government consider subversive such as protesters.
The same could apply in this Apple case – but hopefully at least the US government can be a bit more open.
In 2014, Apple and Google announced that they had re-engineered their software that encrypts the devices used by their operating systems, and therefore could no longer unlock their own products as a result.
[I had this issue with my Android phone about a month ago. Don’t ask me why, but my boot encryption password didn’t working after 2+ years. I had to force a device wipe.]
Not surprising, Republican Presidential nominee is in favor of the master key concept. [Wonder how he would like it if the FBI investigated him and asked for his phone.]
Known treason tech guy, Edward Snowden, has asked why Apple is policing something the FBI should be doing.
This is going down a slippery slope. If Apple is forced to hand the FBI the keys to the castle, when will it stop? Clearly Mr. Farook was a terrorist, but can a warrant be issued to look at the phone of a politician? A celebrity? The person across the street?
If Apple [and Google] are forced to put something in future operating systems, will consumers ignore upgrading to the operating systems that the government can access?