Apple has been in the news a lot this past week for its refusal to comply with a court order demanding it to unlock an iPhone used by one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino massacre. There’s been a lot of ink spilled but there’s still a lot of confusion about what, exactly, the government is ordering Apple to do and why Apple is refusing to do it.
To help explain its position Apple has posted a public FAQ with more details. Among some of the major points:
- Apple says the government request would require it to engineer “an entirely new operating system” compromised with flawed security.
- Apple admits that it’s possible to do so, but fears that it would eventually end up in the wrong peoples’ hands, and all iPhone users would suffer as a result.
- Apple says that it has not unlocked phones for law enforcement in the past.
Our country has always been strongest when we come together. We feel the best way forward would be for the government to withdraw its demands under the All Writs Act and, as some in Congress have proposed, form a commission or other panel of experts on intelligence, technology, and civil liberties to discuss the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy, and personal freedoms. Apple would gladly participate in such an effort.
It makes for interesting reading. I hope you’ll check it out and come to your own conclusion if Apple’s doing the right thing.
One thought on “Apple and the FBI – straight from the horse’s mouth”
Hey Peter. This is such a tough issue and it is really sad that the FBI would use the emotional imagery of the victims and terrorism to sway public sentiment in this issue. Its even more sad that people involved such as the prosecution and the judge are either too dumb or too short sighted to believe that this is a one time situation that Apple with be called to do. Finally, the scariest thing of all is that I firmly believe that Apple is fighting a loosing battle on this. I want them to fight to the bitter end and I support them fully but frankly, the legal entities involved understand the law but not technology or the long term ramifications of forcing Apple to unlock a phone “just this once.” Or, maybe they just drink the Koolaid that the US Government is always right and benign in its actions. I am glad that most of the tech world stands united including everyone from tech CEO’s to journalists and enthusiasts such as yourself. I classify myself as an enthusiast but I also have a criminal justice degree (not a law degree), both of which tell me this is very bad. I hate to be a pessimist but I hope to God that Apple pulls through on this one. “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” -Sir William Blackstone