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The FBI, Apple, and Us

The FBI wants Apple to crack open an iPhone to help the FBI to investigate a case.  The judge who wrote the order doesn't seem to understand everything that goes into such a thing. She seems to think all Apple has to do is click a few mice and POOF! They're in.  This is not the case.

In order to crack the phone, Apple needs to assemble an entire team of engineers.  These engineers would then spend their entire work day writing code to bypass the phone's security system WITHOUT damaging the data that the phone contains, and it must be done in such a way that the findings will hold up in court.  ("Your Honor, how can we know that the code-breaking software didn't destroy evidence that would prove my clients innocence?  All we have is the word of these engineers--and they work for the prosecution!")

This would take a LOT of work and time and money.  And since when does a judge have the power to compel a private person or organization to spend enormous amounts of time and money to help the police?  Does a judge have the power to order a locksmith to crack a safe?  To require a car company to design and build a new car so the FBI can catch a fleeing criminal?  But this judge seems to think it's fine to require Apple to spend millions of dollars in time and money on this little project.

And this is without considering the privacy implications.  If Apple cracks this phone in a way acceptable in court, the genie is out of the bottle.  The software to do so MUST be reviewed by independent third parties AND by the government AND the system must be entered into the court (public) record.  In other words, even if Apple destroys the program, it'll still be out there, ready for the government, hackers, criminals, or anyone else to pick up and use.

For a full explanation of this aspect, I urge you to read this: http://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=5645

The government has greatly overreached itself.  Apple should, with the support of Senators and Representatives, fight this horrifying order or, at worst, simply claim the judge's order can't be done.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2016 07:28 pm (UTC)
I knew it was a disaster waiting to happen. This is more levels of disaster. Thanks for the link and explanation.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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