What’s at stake in FBI vs Apple?

David Gee

The FBI has demanded that Apple [[artnid: 595109|help it break the encryption on an iPhone owned by San Bernardino mass shooter Syed Rizwan Farook]].

Apple has sought to resist a court order to break the iPhone’s security in a landmark case that has triggered a debate that revolves around privacy, security and the threat of terrorism.

I’m not sure that Apple wants to be an evangelist; I doubt it wants to be in the news for this reason. But there are consequences for Apple and the trust that their millions of consumers put in their device.

A backdoor is a backdoor

By creating a backdoor for the FBI to get access to the device, it opens the possibility of undermining the iPhone security and potentially allowing access to other parties.

In essence, it increases the chance that hackers will to find a way to access your iPhone and collect information about you that I’m sure you don’t want to share.

For instance, all the details on your address book, photos in your stream – which could for many people include images of a passport or a driver’s licence.A hacker might even hit a paydirt with a few credit card numbers or ATM passwords that are handily stored.

Once access to the handset has been obtained, it sharply increases the chance that biometric data could be retrieved.

Apple Pay

We all are being pushed towards using our smartphones as our ‘wallet’. Here in Australia, Apple Pay launched last year (for American Express customers at least) and similar services from banks and Google are being made available.

Apple Pay is a service that allows me to pay for purchases using an iPhone 6, iPad or some iPhone 5 devices.

An iOS backdoor would be akin to having a hole in the back of my wallet. While money may not fall out, there is that risk.

The smartphone has become one of the most personal devices we have and contains a treasure trove of sensitive data

While the US case looks like one that I would support, it is the precedent that is the key.

“The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals,” Apple CEO Tim Cook argued in his [[xref:http://www.apple.com/customer-letter/ |open letter to customers]]

“The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.”

Who decides if my personal phone can be hacked and information siphoned from this device? When there is a threat to society then it may feel justified, albeit somewhat Big Brotherish.

Should you hack my iPhone – you know where I go, who I meet, what I spend.

Tags: Apple

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