Apple Writes Letter Warning Customers That Their Privacy May Be At Risk
Following the mass shooting in San Benardino, California this past December, Apple has been working with the FBI to help unlock intelligence information that may be saved on the shooter's phone.
On December 2nd, 2015, couple Tafsheen Malik and Syed Farook shocked the world after taking up arms at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health and killing 14 innocent individuals and injuring 22 others. The shooters were eventually killed in a gun battle with police following the attack. However, now the FBI is digging for more information about possible ties to terrorist organizations that may be locked on Farook's phone.
The FBI has asked Apple to provide a 'back door' allowing the federal government to access personal information without having to hack through Apple's powerful encryption protection.
In a response, Apple wrote a letter to customers warning of the risk involved with creating software to counter encryption protection.
"We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. 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."
According to an article released by NPR, last week FBI Director James Comey told members of Congress that efforts to unlock Farook's phone have not been fruitful.
"It is a big problem for law enforcement armed with a search warrant when you find a device that can't be opened even when a judge says there's probable cause to open it."
Although in this particular case it appears that the FBI would like to use a possible encryption-cutting software as a tactic to gather intelligence to prevent future disasters, the long-term risk associated with the existence of such technology could prove devestating.