As you probably know, Apple and the FBI are currently waging a war of wills over whether Apple should assist the FBI in breaking into dead terrorist Syed Farook’s employer-issued iPhone.
In a nutshell, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is fighting a court order demanding that the company work with the FBI to retrieve the data from the phone.
Cook says he believes that creating a “back door” into the phone’s encrypted storage area will make all iOS devices vulnerable to hacking, putting their users at risk of losing their privacy. In my opinion, that’s a dubious claim at best.
The FBI says they haven’t requested that Apple install a “back door” into all iOS devices. All they want is the ability to retrieve the data on this one particular phone. How Apple chooses to go about making that possible is up to Apple.
All Apple engineers would have to do is take Farook’s phone, do whatever they have to do to unlock the contents, then hand over any info they find to the FBI. They can then completely wipe the phone and return the now-useless device to the FBI.
The method Apple ultimately uses to break into the phone and retrieve the data will remain with the few Apple engineers who perform the task. No one outside the Apple organization needs to know what they did to break into the phone.
As far as “user privacy” is concerned, the iPhone in question is the property of Farook’s employer, not Farook himself. The legal owner of the phone (Farook’s employer) has already given the FBI permission to break into the phone and retrieve its contents.
As far as Farook is concerned, he’s now completely out of the picture. Even assuming he ever had a right to privacy in regards to the info stored on the phone (which he never had since it wasn’t his phone), that right to privacy would have expired the moment he decided to commit such a horrible deed.
The FBI jumped through all the hoops required by the 4th Amendment in regards to the rules for search and seizure. The judge apparently agreed that they had probable cause to search the phone since he issued a legal warrant for the search.
In my opinion, Apple needs to comply with the court order and assist the FBI with this investigation. I also believe they’ll ultimately lose this battle in the court of public opinion if they don’t.
We’re dealing with national security here, and in my opinion that trumps Cook’s reason for resisting a court order.
Of course all of this is just my own humble opinion. I’m interested in hearing your opinion as well, even if it differs from mine.
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