In December 2015, two extremists attacked a government agency in San Bernardino, Ca. The terror attack left 14 people dead and wounded another 21.
On Feb. 16, 2016 – Apple CEO Tim Cook released a statement to Apple customers, more specifically iPhone owners. The purpose of Cook’s statement was to explain why Apple refused to further assist the FBI in unlocking the San Bernardino shooters iPhone.
Cook explained that Apple’s main reason for not assisting the FBI with this portion of the investigation is that by doing so they would be jeopardizing every Apple iPhone in the entire world. Apple prides itself on being a company that does everything in its power to protect the information its customers entrust in its products. Cook went on to state that by assisting the FBI, they would be putting iPhone users everywhere at risk.
The FBI has asked Apple developers to create a backdoor into the iPhone operating system so that a computer can be plugged in to try millions of passwords every minute until it unlocks the shooters phone. While this would assist the FBI in unlocking the shooters iPhone, Apple argues that by creating a “backdoor” into the iPhone would create a weakness in Apple’s operating system that could continue to be exploited without Apples control or knowledge.
Apple believes that the FBI is setting a dangerous precedent. In order to justify its actions the FBI has proposed using the All Writs Act of 1789. If the FBI were to use the All Writs Act of 1789, it would be an extremely rare occurance where the FBI would be able to expand its authority without the explicit approval of congress.
In public statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated, “The government would have us remove security features and add new capabilities to the operating system, 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.”
This is an important issue for Apple as well as all technology companies as the conversation of Internet security, privacy and censorship continues to gain traction. We’ve seen France and other European nations implement regulations against tech companies through the “Right to be Forgotten”, and the discussion surrounding what is private information on the Internet.