FBI vs. Apple : A Fight Unfolds, A Nation Divides, The World Watches

How it all BEGAN

  • An act against humanity was committed
  • The law springs in to action
  • The iPhone 5C of the shooter is recovered during the investigation by the FBI
  • Apple helps the FBI extensively by sharing data from the offender’s iPhone on the iCloud servers
  • The FBI, unable to unlock the phone, stands to lose the data on the phone with approximately 6 weeks’ worth of info if the failed password attempts cross ten
  • FBI wants Apple to write a custom iOS — dubbed by Apple as “GovtOS”, to circumvent this authentication
  • A federal magistrate judge, at the request of the Justice department, orders Apple to help the FBI
  • Apple refuses to comply and CEO Tim Cook puts up an open letter to Apple Customers on Apple’s website detailing its reasons for opposing this order

Why does Apple pushback over this GovtOS?

  • The GovtOS doesn’t exist now and Apple would need to build this new version of iOS to circumvent failed authentications
  • This tool, in the hands of the government or any other third parties, would be dangerous and could be used to crack any iPhone of the same model
  • Apple repeatedly advocates privacy and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has made many public statements about digital privacy’s importance in the past 18 months
  • There have been numerous requests from law enforcement agencies in the past for ordinary crimes, and Apple has extracted data for them but it has never unlocked devices for the government
  • Worldwide, Apple has sold more than 200 million iPhones this past year. This GovtOS with the potential to unlock even a fraction of these iPhones would be worth millions to any country or third parties
  • Complying with this court order today may set a dangerous precedent within the United States and other countries that Apple operates in
  • Apple also argues that even if the GovtOS is built and wiped after being used on the terrorist’s phone, Apple will need to keep detailed logs & documentation about the OS for legal reasons — governments or third parties can then recreate the OS in the future even if the OS doesn’t exist

A Nation Divided

CEO’s of various Technology companies have voiced their support for Apple

Encryption is set to become a Political Debate

Some VERY Important Points to Ponder

  • Does Privacy Really Exist in this digital age? Every move that you as a person make is already being watched by someone, could be your network service provider, browser, Google, Facebook, Apple, the police with cameras on every street corner and the likes.
  • What is Apple trying to protect?? Is it trying to protect its branding or standing? If it is privacy & security — does it NOT collect data from its users?? And does it NOT carry out targeted marketing towards them?
  • If Apple is trying to discuss Privacy & Security — why does it have Google Search Bar on its devices — and gets paid for it when Google collects your data and makes money out of it?
  • If Apple really wants Privacy & Security in its OS — why does it provide an SDK that allows access to user data on device? AND how much money does Apple make out of its app store??
  • Is Apple just pulling a PR Stunt against Google & Facebook whose revenues are based on “data”?

The World is WATCHING!

  • A meaningful disagreement with the court order may be difficult for Apple as the FBI has a valid warrant, the person being investigated is unquestionably guilty and there may be information on the phone that may lead to other terrorists and prevent future crimes
  • When the historical evidence is considered, it is clear that governments have abused power (e.g. PRISM surveillance program) and a trade off between privacy and security is a frequent consequence of real or perceived threats to domestic and national security
  • The stakes this time are higher — given the data a Smartphone holds, a master key or backdoor can lead to global surveillance unlike any known before
  • However, there are certain difficult features to be considered: -
  • If Apple resists and wins, the iPhone becomes much more secure and becomes a potentially dangerous device in the hands of evil doers
  • If Apple helps the FBI, it will be the first of many times it will be asked by governments and courts to circumvent the iPhone’s security. (And, of course next will be countless other device manufacturers.)
  • Technology companies, law enforcement agencies and policy makers should all work together to bring about a solution that is in everyone’s best interests, instead of standing on opposing sides

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