Apple went on record to publicly inform its customers in writing about its position on your privacy and the request from the FBI to unlock an iPhone. The iPhone the FBI want unlocked belongs to a terrorist who let off a bomb.
Below is an extract from Apple’s letter to its customers –
A Message to Our Customers
The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand. This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.
The Need for Encryption
Smartphones, led by iPhone, have become an essential part of our lives. People use them to store an incredible amount of personal information, from our private conversations to our photos, our music, our notes, our calendars and contacts, our financial information and health data, even where we have been and where we are going.
All that information needs to be protected from hackers and criminals who want to access it, steal it, and use it without our knowledge or permission. Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data.
Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us.For many years, we have used encryption to protect our customers’ personal data because we believe it’s the only way to keep their information safe. We have even put that data out of our own reach, because we believe the contents of your iPhone are none of our business.
This case is a case on principle and it has far reaching implications if the FBI win. The FBI are trying a new tactic. Rather than asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority.
It is a difficult situation. Emotional thoughts say this phone belonged to somebody who killed people with a bomb. Maybe in some circumstances there might be a justifiable reason to break and unlock this iPhone?
However, that is not what the FBI want. Specifically, the FBI wants Apple 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.
What if Apple made this an exception for the FBI. Next step would be countries demanding the same. So my view is Apple are correct to stand firm regardless of the emotional angst that might be attacked to this case. Apple aren’t ignoring the FBI either, They have assisted the FBI with information requested by legal means and assigned Apple engineers to help them. But what Apple won’t do is create a special version of iOS for the FBI. I agree with Apple’s stance.
Update – Google has gone on record supporting Apple.