The FBI demand for Apple to unlock Those-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named’s iPhones (the San Bernardino shooters) has officially been ruled on by a federal judge. The verdict is in: Apple must give investigators access to the encrypted data on the iPhone used by the shooters. (Link)
But wait, there’s more! The FBI demand (apparently) includes a demand that Apple help decrypt the data. This is something that Apple steadfastly (rightly so) claims to not have the ability to do. The FBI claims that Apple simply MUST have that ability, and lacking that ability currently, must develop such a method to do so (if you believe Tim Cook, which I do in this case).
Mr. Cook claims that “the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation.” Given what I know about the FBI and how it has operated the past few years I do not put this outside the realm of possibility.
People who know me know that I am the exact opposite of an Apple fan boy. I have owned exactly 2 Apple products in my life (an iPod I received as a Christmas gift, and an Apple TV which I promptly rooted and installed a custom software version to allow me to watch movies off a NAS) and haven’t really loved them (especially at their RIDICULOUS price points). All that being said, I need to commend Mr. Cook and his stance (and the direction he is steering Apple towards) with regards to security and privacy for people with Apple devices (and all devices, hopefully). It is exactly the sort of stance we need to have against the government intrusion to the public and their lives.
I have grown sick and tired of every single thing becoming an excuse for increase government power and the ignorance as to what the rules of the Constitution allow for.
As for what the result of this case will be? We all know what the result will be. Apple will take it to appeals (they were just at the Federal level, which means it’s already been appealed [I think, IANAL]) which means the next step is likely the Supreme Court.
Who knows what will happen there, especially with the passing of Justice Scalia recently.
All that being said, the Supreme Court has been known to vote strongly in favor of privacy rules. I can only hope that Apple goes full-court press on this issue and can get the momentum it needs to create a real policy shift in the United States government.
That’s probably way too much to ask though.
We can all dream though.
P.S.: As to address the title of the post:
Who I Hope Wins: Apple.
Who I Bet Wins: FBI.