Apple released a statement Feb. 16 in which it refused to comply with the U.S. government’s demand for software that would allow the FBI to electronically access password-protected iPhones.
Since the San Bernardino terrorist attack on Dec. 2, 2015, the government has been working to identify the contents of the terrorists’ iPhones but ran into a setback with Apple’s software.
The current encryption has the ability to erase all data on the phone after 10 failed passcode attempts.
In CEO Tim Cook’s message to Apple customers, he said Apple supports the efforts of the government to eliminate terrorism and have provided any help possible.
“Specifically, 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,” said Cook in his letter. “In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.”
Many flaws have been noted in the government’s request, especially in regard to the FBI-confiscated phones to which this backdoor software would be limited.
“You can’t unmake technology,” said Dr. Daniel Skubik, professor of law, ethics and humanities. “I don’t see how legally or technologically it could be limited to just this one case.”
In its message, Apple noted people use the devices to store personal information that is crucial to protect.
“When the government asks for something like this it’s not beneficial for crime fighting or something they’re saying it’s beneficial for,” said Dr. Anthony Corso, assistant professor of computer information systems. “But it gives them a lot more data on how we function as a society and that’s the danger.”
The company has been successful in its efforts thus far to remain lawful and loyal to its customers and their privacy, promising to not create backdoor software.