Apple refuse to unlock criminal's phone

17 February 2016

apple Apple have been hit with a court order, where they were told that they had to help the FBI break the encryption on an iPhone which was recovered some a San Bernardino shooter. Apple have refused to offer what Judge Sheri Pym called "reasonable technical assistance" to investigators.

Honcho Tim Cook said that this threatens the security of all of Apple's customers and had "implications far beyond the legal case at hand."

The FBI want to see the data on Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone 5C. We assume they've asked him for the passcode already. We're being glib of course, as the FBI want to be able to bypass the device's auto-erase function, which kicks in after 10 consecutive unsuccessful passcode attempts.

If you're wondering what Farook did, and are more interested in that, he went on a shooting rampage with his wife, where he killed 14 people and injured 22 others. He was killed after shootout with the police, as was his wife.

Obviously, the FBI want to know about any links with terrorist and militia groups. Prosecutors said: "Apple has the exclusive technical means which would assist the government in completing its search, but has declined to provide that assistance voluntarily."

Governments have been chatting about strong encryption on phones for a while now, saying that they hamstring national security. Of course, the counter argument to that is governments are trying to steamroller people's personal privacy, and that this whole thing encourages spying on their own citizens. In addition to that, weakening encryption wouldn't make everyone safer, but rather, make it easier for hackers and baddies to get all up in innocent people's business.

It's very complicated.

In a letter, which was posted on Apple's site to customers, Cook said that the FBI wanted them "to build a backdoor to the iPhone" by making a new version of the iPhone operating system, which would sidestep a number of security features.

"The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers - including tens of millions of American citizens - from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals," Cook said, adding that Apple are "challenging the FBI's demands" and that it'd be "in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications."

You can see the full letter here.

TOPICS:   Mobile   Privacy

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