Apple Response to Attempted FBI Mugging

Apple is politer than I would be after an attempted FBI mugging.

The new webpage by Apple reads in part:

Why is Apple objecting to the government’s order?

The government asked a court to order Apple to create a unique version of iOS that would bypass security protections on the iPhone Lock screen. It would also add a completely new capability so that passcode tries could be entered electronically.

This has two important and dangerous implications:

First, the government would have us write an entirely new operating system for their use. They are asking Apple to remove security features and add a new ability to the operating system to attack iPhone encryption, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by “brute force,” trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.

We built strong security into the iPhone because people carry so much personal information on our phones today, and there are new data breaches every week affecting individuals, companies and governments. The passcode lock and requirement for manual entry of the passcode are at the heart of the safeguards we have built in to iOS. It would be wrong to intentionally weaken our products with a government-ordered backdoor. If we lose control of our data, we put both our privacy and our safety at risk.

Second, the order would set a legal precedent that would expand the powers of the government and we simply don’t know where that would lead us. Should the government be allowed to order us to create other capabilities for surveillance purposes, such as recording conversations or location tracking? This would set a very dangerous precedent.

The first sentence captures all that need to said for me:

The government asked a court to order Apple to create a unique version of iOS that would bypass security protections on the iPhone Lock screen.

Suddenly, the “land of the free,” becomes “land of the free, so long as you don’t cross the FBI…”

The government can certainly ask Apple to undertake such a project but Apple (and you) have an absolute right to decline. For any reason.

The FBI wants your freedom to choose to be at the sufferance of the FBI.

That doesn’t fit with my notion of liberty under the U.S. Constitution.

Does it fit with yours?

Comments are closed.