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Judge Asks Apple to Help Unlock iPhone, Apple Balks

Article Comments  9  

Feb 17, 2016, 7:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Feb 17, 2016, 12:09 PM

A U.S. judge has ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock the iPhone owned by the shooters in the terrorist attack that took place Dec. 2 in San Bernardino, Calif. The terrorist's iPhone is protected by encryption and a password, which the FBI has been unable to crack. If the FBI puts in the wrong password 10 times, the iPhone will erase all its data. The FBI wants Apple to create a new version of iOS that turns off the limit on password attempts so the agency can move forward with a brute force attack. Brute force attacks rely on computers to input many thousands of password/PIN combinations until the correct one is found. Apple CEO Tim Cook calls the request a "threat to data security" and a "dangerous precedent." In a letter to customers, Cook said the FBI is essentially requesting a backdoor into iPhones, even if the agency says it will use the method only once on this specific device. Once created, others would be able use the backdoor to break into iPhones. Apple strongly believes consumers require and deserve encryption and protection from those who might exploit the treasure trove of data stored on their mobile device. "The implications of the government's demands are chilling," said Cook. "If the government can use the All Writs Act (from 1789) to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone's device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone's microphone or camera without your knowledge. Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government." Cook said Apple fears this demand would undermine all it has done to protect its customers, as well as the ideals of privacy held by U.S. citizens. It is asking everyone to "step back" and consider the broader implications.

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Feb 18, 2016, 6:19 PM

Is there a good compromise here?

I am kinda' thorn about this issue because I see the truth in both positions. I wonder if Apple and other handset makers could modify their encryption system in the future in such a way that they would keep some one-time master keys in a database for each phone that could be made available at a court order. Once a master key is used, it would no longer work. In its place another one-time key could be used in the future. This would address the worry that a key could be leaked out and used by unauthorized parties. Of course some rogue Apple employee could still leak keys from their database, so there we go again.

Feb 17, 2016, 6:51 PM

For once

I support something Apple is doing. Even if it is just show.

Feb 17, 2016, 9:03 AM

Cook your a tool

......... The end
Yes, a puppet for a body of penny penchers
Tim Cook is right
the fbi does not care about what is in that man's phone.
They want the tools to unlock all phones such as this and also apply it toward all devices with such encryption
You make a statement like "cook your a tool" without checking your grammar AND to the subject at hand and you expect anyone to take your post seriously?

You are the tool if you think that Apple should comply.

The implications of Apple providing ...
Cook wants to protect our freedoms and you want to give them away. Who's the tool again?
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