In the wake of December’s San Bernardino terrorist attack, the United States Government is calling on Apple to provide additional information. The attackers used Iphones and the US believes there is valuable information contained on the phones. Apple, in the past, has cooperated with government requests to extradite data from suspects devices. While the US, due to failed attempts has lost access to these phones, it wants Apple to change that in the future.
Apple, does not provide a way for third party access to Iphones. It, like all smart phone makers, has no backdoor access for anyone other than the user to crack the code into the phone. While the government has filed a civil suit, Apple is not backing down. Apple has refused to build a backdoor access to Iphones. Tim Cook, CEO, believes that this request is a breach of consumer privacy. He has gone so far as to call it a breach of civi liberties (right to privacy). Apple also believes creating the software for investigators would not be controlled. Eventually, that software and access would fall into the wrong hands putting millions of individuals data at risk. The support of big-name players, such as ex-NSA officials and Google, has put this fight front and center.
But at what point does Apple have to cave to government demands? The government’s fight is based off of an eighteenth century law that forced private companies to comply with federal organizations. But that was before companies knew so much. A tailor in the eighteenth century might know your address or your wife’s name. Technology companies collect data on all manner of things, and very valuable and private information.
Consumers information is mostly encrypted to prevent things like identity theft from occurring. A master key, like the government wants, if in the wrong hands would allow anyone to translate the data being sent via these devices and operating systems. As companies gather more and more access to consumer data, this request will most likely become more and more common. It’s another drop in the bucket in the age-old debate, safety or privacy? And this event, could decide for you so it’s best to start planning your response- either way now.