If FBI wins the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone hack case, it would force Apple to turn users’ smartphones into spying devices
The FBI vs. Apple iPhone hacking case is poised for judgement in the court but it has raised several issues associated with allowing a backdoor in any smartphone for any government agency. Apple’s head of services, Eddy Cue feels the same. He says that if at all, the FBI wins in its case against Apple to help it unlock the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone 5C, it won’t be long before the government forces Apple to turn on users’ iPhone cameras and microphones to spy on them.
If this is true than we would have a complicated situation where all our conversations and chats are spied upon by US government agencies. The FBI has demanded that Apple creates custom software (backdoor) that can bypass security features in iOS and allow law enforcement to brute force the passcode of the shooter’s iPhone 5C. Apple has since reiterated that making any modifications in iOS to allow access to FBI would set a dangerous precedent in offering backdoors into users’ smartphones.
Cue said to Univision: “Someday they will want [Apple] to turn on [a user’s] camera or microphone. We can’t do that now, but what if we’re forced to do that?
“Where will this stop? In a divorce case? In an immigration case? In a tax case? Some day, someone will be able to turn on a phone’s microphone. That should not happen in this country.”
FBI on its part is insisting that the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone may have some dark secrets about terrorists, which could help it solve the case. However, without Apple’s help, it cannot break the software protections built into iOS, which requires a unique signature.
Not all believe that FBI cant hack the iPhone without Apple’s help. Former NSA contractor and serial leaker, Edward Snowden recently said that the FBI’s assertions that only Apple has the capability to unlock the phone is “respectfully, bullshit”.
Many other security researchers and experts have held similar opinions.
Experts also agree with what Cue has to say. By allowing FBI a backdoor in the shooter’s iPhone, Apple would then be required to provide access to different demands from different agencies in future.
Apple has the backing of the majority of the technology industry, including Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and Google, which makes the most-used smartphone operating system, Android.
The case will heard this month when Apple and the FBI go to federal court to contest the order. Apple however has strong grounds in the case as it recently won an unrelated but similar case over the unlocking of an iPhone in New York.