Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc, has published an open letter to the public regarding a recent government request to create a back door access method to information stored internally on Apple devices. Apple is the company known for creating and marketing iPhone and MacBook products.
“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.” – Tim Cook
The request for information has been made in the midst of the investigation of the San Bernardino shooting that took place in December 2015.
This type of activity is not unusual for the Federal Government. In 1993, the NSA developed the “clipper chip,” which was to be used by telecommunication companies to assist in the federal retrieval of private information. The NSA, along with the United Kingdom’s GCHQ, stole millions of encryption keys to bypass the process of asking for the data they were stealing. These are only two examples among many, many more. Domestic federal agencies pass information to one another.
This is good news for iPhone users. Historically, the FBI does not ask for assistance collecting data unless they are first unable to steal it. The fact that this request has been made may indicate that the FBI is unable to break into the iPhone. CEO Tim Cook’s openness regarding this issue, and unwillingness to work with the FBI to create dangerous back doors, should be applauded. In the information age, more and more private information is being communicated digitally. When companies such as Apple are willing to stand up in defense of privacy, and only allow the collection of data that users have agreed to surrender, the digital world is better off and consumers are safer.
This article was edited for grammar, style, and spelling, but not for content. The views expressed are that of the author, Nathaniel Owen, exclusively, and do not reflect that of BeingLibertarian.com or Being Libertarian LLC
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