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Apple Prepares to Fight Legal Battle with the FBI to Fight for Privacy Rights

Following the San Bernardino shooting in San Bernardino, CA, the FBI have requested that Apple create a special firmware to allow them to access...
By Night · Feb 18, 2016 · Updated Apr 6, 2016
  1. Night

    Tuesday, a court order was granted to the FBI in regards to the recent shooting in San Bernardino, CA. The court order says that Apple must create a backdoor for the FBI to use to gain access to one of the shooters', Syed Farook, cell phone. The phone in question is an iPhone 5c, and is protected by Apple's excellent security measures. The FBI lack access to the phone because they do not know Farook's PIN, and each time they try to guess it they run the risk of the phone wiping itself of all data. To further add to their frustration, every time they incorrectly guess a PIN number, the phone creates a delay, keeping them from even attempting another guess.

    This is where the FBI wants Apple to help out. The FBI have had a court order granted that would require Apple to create a special firmware that can be injected into the phone. This firmware would negate the memory wipe function and also the delay function, allowing the FBI to continue running PIN guesses until they find the correct combination and can access the phone. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that the company will fight the court order, which they see as an opportunity to unleash a backdoor into the world for all Apple devices, which threatens the security of their customers, something they have always held above all else, even going so far as to keep sensitive data unavailable to Apple themselves.

    The company released a formal letter to its customers earlier this week, which I will link at the end of this article. They basically announced that such a backdoor would certainly be possible, but that it's “something we consider too dangerous to create.”

    Here are Tim Cook's exact words on the subject:

    "In the wrong hands, this software, which does not exist today, would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession. The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

    We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack. For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. Criminals and bad actors will still encrypt, using tools that are readily available to them."

    The court has brought up an incredibly old act, the All Writs Act, which was established in 1789. This act essentially gives the courts the right to order a person or company to comply with court orders. If this act had never been used before, this would be a different case altogether, where Apple could fight it with no precedence whatsoever. However, a few years ago the act was in fact used to force another phone company to bypass the lock screen on a phone, so as to be used for evidence.

    I must agree with Cook when he says that this development is "chilling". It chills me to the bone to think that the government could possibly have access to any American's phone, legally. While it has long been thought that the government was spying on us illegally, it is another matter entirely when the courts side with such an invasion of privacy and make this kind of snooping legal by precedent in a court of law. I'm curious to hear what my fellow Sinners think of these developments and this shocking news, please let me know in the comments below!

    The Letter From Apple to Consumers

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    About Author

    I'm just an aspiring English Major with a love of all things geeky.


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  1. Walteri
    I think I want an iPhone. But then again I hate it's software. Android > iOS.
    I'm still glad they're fighting that. But that "no" to the sales strategy and advertising question is obviously only half the truth. It's obvious that they do it so they can advertise about it and make more sales. If they can do it and it makes the sales better, why not? Exactly.
    That's pretty much why that plain "no" isn't quite true. Only half-true, if you catch my meaning.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Walteri
      Oh most definitely <3
    3. Red58
      Let's all be honest with ourselves, both Android and iOS suck compared to an old Nokia.
    4. Walteri
      Depends on what you do with your phone, what you need it for and how you define good. :wink: But yes, nothing beats the good old Nokia
  2. DrGiggleZ55
    I'm against completely and hope apple wins but is it possible to write this software once remove all the //comments and giving it to the FBI and then patching it in a update?
    (Side off topic note you should let me come to you when i need help with papers since your a English major lmao...)
  3. 3xTiNcT
    Glad they're fighting it.
  4. Nagato
    Apple is making the right movie. They better not give in.
  5. Filloti
    Hahah I lmfao when some asian lad got on the broadcast and said 'bring it down to my local store and we will be in it in 2 minutes'
  6. CallummL
    Apple have always taken security very seriously. I think it's great that they have decided to fight against this and it shows that they really do care for their customers privacy. The FBI wouldn't use it just for this case, they'd use it for anything they wanted once it was available to them. I heard Facebook and Twitter have also backed Apple on this too.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Reedradar
      Perfection of the morals. CallummL lets take our perfection else where.
    3. CallummL
    4. Reedradar
      I will perfectly gander as you strut.
  7. Acro
    I think apple is doing the right here COMPLETELY, I know alot of you guys will disagree with me. I understand that the fact of terrorism is involved but the F.B.I is not allowed to do this as it is the privacy of the customer. I'm glad that apple has not went ahead and and did this. Because if they give the "back-door" software to the F.B.I would you not think they will use this software to do this to other phones terrorist or non terrorist. I could go on all-day but imma stop here.
    1. Stonerzard
      You haven't even read the article have you? The FBI are allowed to do it and have done as such. Apple hasn't refused but are attempting to fight it. Attempting being a word that should be used lightly as it doesn't look like they should win. Privacy laws only protect privacy and criminals - if you're not of the latter then you shouldn't have anything to worry about the former.
    2. Acro
      I re-read it there now, i misread it. but i understand it.
  8. HowAmI
    Funny I am listening to TechTalk about this.. One thing I find funny is Tim has said it's impossible to create a "backdoor" but in this article it says that Apple could make a "backdoor".
    1. View previous replies...
    2. HowAmI
      Maybe it wasn't Tim but some big name said it. I'll put in the comments later what the TechTalk stream said.
    3. Night
      Well I think I'll take Tims word over some other "big name" lol. (No offense to you, just seems like Tim would know)
    4. HowAmI
      I understand but I'm just writing what I heard from a 'show' from people that talk about tech.
  9. Daniel37Parker
    I am happy apple are saying no. just imagine if the software was leaked, a stolen iphone is no longer a brik waiting to be reset and sold, it's sombodys id.
  10. Razor sean
    Glad Apple are not falling for the scheme. Anyone with half a brain would know that the FBI could easily be able to breach into the phone them self if they wanted to, they just want Apple to make them a program so they can use it for other phones in the future, no matter who's phone it is.