Tim Cook’s Message to Customers: The Need for Encryption
“A Dangerous Precedent” – FBI’s request for a “backdoor” into iPhones:
Tim Cook has just released a statement on their website talking about encryption, the FBI and the San Bernardino case. Tim Cook stresses the need for encryption and firmly disagrees with the FBI’s demand for “a version of iOS that bypasses security [which] would undeniably create a backdoor.”
He continues “The FBI asked us for help in the days following the attack, and we have worked hard to support the government’s efforts to solve this horrible crime. We have no sympathy for terrorists.”
Tim Cook says “Now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.”
FBI Director, James Comey said in December 2015 that one of the shooter’s phones had locked out his agents, preventing their ability to search for evidence about the shootings. Apple has been ordered by a Federal Judge to turn off encryption on the iPhone, to disable the auto-erase functions and to build a new iOS which they can install on the phone for access.
Tim Cook replies that this would be a “dangerous precedent”.
“The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”
He finishes: “We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.
While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
Apple are going to contest the court order.
The Smart Phone Encryption Issue:
The FBI court order and Tim Cook’s response follows the recent proposed legislation in New York that smartphones should legally have a back-door through their encryption. The privacy of US citizens, as well as the rest of the world, has been an important issue in the last few years following Edward Snowden’s “whistle-blowing”. Although this court order is only related to the San Bernardino shootings, Tim Cook warns that if this software got into the wrong hands, it could be disastrous for the security and privacy of iPhone users.
Tim Cook says “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. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.”