Apple engineers are building a unhackable iPhone which cannot be penetrated even by government agencies
Apple engineers have already started developing new security measures that would make it impossible for the governments or federal enforcements from using passcode bypassing techniques to access iPhones or any iOS devices in the future. This breakthrough comes amidst a very public battle between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over demands that the former open a phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino attackers.
FBI Director James Comey has defended the federal agency’s request to have Apple open the iPhone to them, saying earlier this week they are not looking for a key to unlock all iPhones, but only assistance for this case.
According to the report in the New York Times, if Apple succeeds in upgrading its security, which the experts say it almost surely will, the company will create an important technical task for law enforcement agencies, even if the Obama administration wins its fight over access to data stored on an iPhone used by one of the killers in last year’s San Bernardino attacks. If the FBI wanted to get into a phone in the future, it would need to find another way to defeat Apple security, setting up a new cycle of court fights and, yet again, more technical fixes by Apple.
Experts say that the only way out of this scenario is for Congress to intervene. Federal wiretapping laws require traditional phone carriers like Verizon and AT&T to make data accessible to law enforcement. However, tech companies like Apple and Google are not compelled by such laws and have fought legislation that would place such requirements on them.
“We are in for an arms race unless and until Congress decides to clarify who has what obligations in situations like this,” said Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
The White House has said it will not ask Congress to pass a law that requires tech companies to give the FBI a method by which to access user data. Without Congressional action, the Justice Department is left to fight for access one phone at a time.
Companies have always looked for software bugs and patched holes to keep their code secure from hackers. But in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about government surveillance, companies have been retooling their products to protect against government interference.
Security is also a global marketing strategy for Apple. New security measures would not only help the company in its battle against the government, but also give an assurance to customers and investors.
“For all of those people who want to have a voice but they’re afraid, we are standing up, and we are standing up for our customers because protecting them we view as our job,” Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, said on Wednesday in an interview with ABC News.
The technology giant built its recent operating systems to protect customer information. In a recent letter written to customers, Cook said, “We have even put that data out of our own reach, because we believe the contents of your iPhone are none of our business.”
Apple argues that complying with the government’s request creates a dangerous precedent that would allow the government to compel company engineers to break the security of any device.
“The U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create,” Cook said in a letter to users.