A Message to Apple Customers
Earlier today, Apple CEO Tim Cook released a message on the company website to all of its customers detailing what they have been arguing about with the government recently.
The FBI is investigating the San Bernardino case that occurred back last December. On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were injured in a terrorist attack of mass shooting and attempts at bombing The Inland Regional Center at the perpetrator’s, Syed Rizwan Farook, a health inspector, own departmental event and luncheon for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.
The FBI has now asked Apple for help, which they have done so, up until this point. The United States government asked Apple for “something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create.” They want Apple to build a backdoor to the iPhone.
Basically, the government wants Apple to make a new version of iOS that finds its way around important security features and install it on the iPhone being investigated in the San Bernardino case. This is a problem for Apple because they feel if this information, which doesn’t even exist, gets in the wrong hands, it could unlock any iPhone in physical possession and they cannot guarantee control over this.
In order to keep your iPhone protected from hackers getting access to your personal information, such as your private conversations, pictures, music, calendars, contacts, health data, financial information, where you’re going or where you’ve been, Apple uses encryption, the most effective was to achieve data security. In order to read encrypted data, you must have access to a secret key or passcode. Apple is so dedicated to its customers safety and protection that they have put this information out of their own reach by stopping the storage of encryption keys for iOS8 and later devices. This makes the governments request impossible to fulfill.
The FBI is now proposing the unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify their reasoning for this request. This act authorizes the United States federal courts to “issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.” This act can only be enforced if four conditions are fulfilled: “the absence of alternative remedies; an independent basis for jurisdiction; necessary or appropriate in aid of jurisdiction; usages and principles of law.”
If the government is able to implement the use of this act for their case, they could extend this privacy breach and demand Apple to build surveillance software that could intercept your messages, access your health records and financial data, track your location, and access your mic and camera without you even knowing. The FBI is pretty much asking the same engineers who built the encryption to protect you and your iPhone to weaken those very protections.
As an Apple iPhone user myself, I personally am grateful for the steps the Apple company is willing to take to protect their customers and their personal information. It makes me feel comfortable in my decision to use their products and trust that they have my best interests at heart. There are others, however, that feel differently.
Donald Trump, Republican candidate in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, criticizes Apple’s decision to oppose the U.S. government’s request. Trump “100 percent agrees with the courts…I think security, overall, we have to open it up and we have to use our heads. We have to use common sense.”
The states of California and New York have also been introducing bills that aim to ban the sale of devices with strong encryption levels, with a fine of $2,500 per phone sold in violation, but the bills have yet to be signed.
You can read the message from Apple here.