In a landmark move, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has very publicly denied a request from the US government. After the San Bernardino shooting, the FBI recovered an iPhone that belonged to one of the shooters. Anyone who has an iPhone knows that you better remember your pass code because if you enter a wrong code in 10 times then your whole phone will be erased. This even applies to the FBI who can’t figure out how to break into this mobile device.
After the director of the FBI testified to congress that they still hadn’t been able to break into the phone, a judge in California, the state where Apple’s headquarters are located, wrote an order for the company to create some kind of program or operating system that would allow for infinite password attempts so that they could break into the device and get some information, if there was any to be had, and Apple stood up for privacy and said no way.
Tim Cook explained what they were asking for further in an open letter on the Apple website which has been widely shared: “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.” He made it very clear in his statement that Apple does help governments with investigations when they ask for information that they are in possession of, and offer their engineers to assist and advise on cases. However, he says they simply will not build a “backdoor” to the iPhone.
“In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.” Cook writes, explaining just one of the arguments against creating this technology. In addition, he comments on the fact that the same engineers who built encryption and privacy into Apple devices would be weakening their own inventions.
Surprisingly, not many other tech companies have even commented on this statement in favor of consumers over government, though, people in favor of encryption and privacy such as Edward Snowden have commented favorably.
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