The saga continues: FBI director James Comey has responded to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s open letter about privacy with an open letter of his own, in which he argues that asking Apple to hack the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter does not set a “dangerous precedent” for the future.
In an impassioned blog post, Comey says he “could not look the survivors in the eye” if the FBI didn’t glean every last shred of evidence from the iPhone in question. He says they “don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land,” and that these big questions of security “should not be resolved by corporations that sell stuff for a living.”
As a reminder, Apple does think the FBI has good intentions, but that forcing the company to build a crippled version of iOS to essentially hack an iPhone is a “dangerous” and “chilling” proposal, which could have widespread implications for all our privacy further down the line. Whether intended or not, purposely creating a weakened ‘backdoor’ would make a tool which hackers and cybercriminals could use to steal private data from any iPhone.
Apple is trying to encourage a public discussion on the subject of privacy, security and freedom, and wants its stance understood fully. To that end, the company has posted a question-and-answer page on its website to give proper responses to many of the queries customers have been asking over the past week.
Much like the rest of America, the victims’ families are split on who to support in Apple v.s. the FBI, with some saying that despite the tragedy, “the fact we have the right to privacy” is what makes the country great, while others are filing a legal brief to support the FBI.
Meanwhile, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowdon claims there is a risky but potentially effective “chip de-capping” technique the FBI could use to reclaim information from the iPhone without Apple’s help. There are a lot of facets to this case, and it’s far from over. Stay tuned…