Apple vs FBI: The Struggle For Protected Data

This week, Apple has released an announcement detailing their interactions with the Federal Bureau of Investigation since the terrorist incident in San Bernardino last December. For those who don’t know, on December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, which consisted of a mass shooting and an attempted bombing.

As soon as the attack was over, the FBI has asked Apple for all of their information on the attackers, as even though they were dead, they could have had precious information on other terrorists. “When the FBI has requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case. We have also made Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and we’ve offered our best ideas on a number of investigative options at their disposal.”, Tim Cook stated in their message about the encryption matter.

However, on February 9, 2016, the FBI announced that it was unable to unlock one of the Apple devices which belonged to one of the terrorists. Therefore, they asked Apple for help. However, this time, Apple refused. Why? “Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But 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.

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. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.”

“Some would argue that building a backdoor for just one iPhone is a simple, clean-cut solution. But it ignores both the basics of digital security and the significance of what the government is demanding in this case.”

Tim Cook stated these disapproving words and more in the official statement made this week on the Apple website. However, since then, the world has reacted in many ways, with big names in the tech world taking sides in this matter.

The reaction

As soon as the open letter was uploaded to the public on the Apple website, the entire Internet started taking sides, with some even going as far as calling Apple “terrorists” for protecting the information of the attackers. However, many important people in the tech scene have taken Apple’s side. Among these people is CEO of Apple’s biggest rival, Apple.

While Apple has been getting a lot of praise for their bravery to stand against the will of the United States Government, it seems that they’re being hit with an ultimatum: the judge in their case has ordered Apple to help the FBI, whether they like it or not. If they do not, they will face dire consequences. Tim Cook has announced that they will contest this court decision, while the judge has given Apple three more days to provide the FBI with a means to unlock the iPhone.

Meanwhile, John McAfee, the creator of the popular (but now fairly bad) antivirus software, has told the FBI that if they give him the iPhone, he’ll decrypt it for them so that Apple doesn’t have to create a backdoor. While this is a really great offer, we all know that the FBI actually wants that backdoor for the future, not only for this case. We’ll have to see how this case ends up, but all we know is that Apple made an important decision to win their customers’ trust.