Last year, the whole country grappled with the horrific San Bernardino attack which killed fourteen people. Today, the FBI continue their investigation on the two attackers. But they hit a roadblock: they cannot access the iPhone used by one of the attackers. So naturally, the FBI reached out to Apple for assistance.
In a letter to costumers, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote, “The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”
So what exactly is this “unprecedented step”?
In order for FBI to crack the terrorist’s iPhone, Apple would have to create a new version of its operating system which will override the phone’s encryption feature. This, according, to Apple, is dangerous.
“The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe,” Tim Cook said. In other words, this step could eventually be a gateway for hackers and criminals to easily access other iPhones, thus putting all other iPhone users’ safety at risk.
Tim Cook also added, “And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”
And so the legal battle continues. The government is using the 1978 law called the All Writs Act to force compliance from Apple. The law says the government can order someone to do anything to comply to an existing writ, as long as the request is not “unduly burdensome.” But Apple insists that engineering a whole new iOS system is indeed “unduly burdensome.”
How this whole issue pans out is still uncertain. What is certain though is that how this will be decided can affect us. After all, this case is dealing with terrorism and national security and personal security.
Do you stand behind Apple in their refusal to comply? Are do you trust that the FBI when successful will only use this new system for this case?