Apple has waged a war against the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States FBI, that has sparked a rationale debate on as to what is more important National security or personal privacy.
It all started when FBI came across Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone. Syed Rizwan Farook along with his wife had assaulted 14 people in a massacre in San Bernardino, California a couple of months ago.
The main concern being that the iPhone is programmed to delete its data after a limited number of unsuccessful attempts and hence wants Apple to unlock the phone. FBI believes that the locked phone has messages that may shed light on the couple’s terrorist activity.
Syed Farook, born in the United States, worked in San Bernardino County, as an environmental health specialist, inspecting restaurants for health violations. As part of his job, he also inspected public pools at locations including apartment and senior housing complexes and country clubs.
On Wednesday morning, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28 with his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, dropped off their six-month-old baby with Farook’s mother, lying that they had a doctor’s appointment.
By noon, the couple had donned with assault clothing, armed themselves with rifles and stormed into a holiday party attended by San Bernardino’s County employees, where 14 people were killed and 17 others were wounded. Before sunset, after a shootout with police, they were both died.
Apple had been assisting FBI with this case, but later resisted with them, when they demanded Apple to come up with a new version of the iPhone OS and install it on their phone to make it easier to unlock, by trying different password combinations without erasing the data contained in the phone.
The federal magistrate had ruled Apple to come up with this highly specialized software within a very short period of time. But Tim Cook (Apple CEO) released a letter saying that he would challenge the Court’s demand.
According to Apple:
They are deeply committed to safeguard customer data, and hence, use Encryption that are algorithms which convert the data into unique codes used to transmit electric data, which protects data such as music, sound clips, notes, photos, financial information from hackers.
According to Cook if a less secure version of the iPhone is developed then there is no assurance that Government won’t use it on multiple Phone.
Cook wrote: “In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks”
On the other hand according to FBI:
The phone used by a mass murderer was obtained with a search warrant and with the phone owner’s consent. The phone is owned by Farook’s former employer, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. The department has supported federal investigator’s request to search the contents of that device.
On further investigation, it was revealed that of the shooter’s iCloud account indicated that the Farook was in contact with the victims before to the shooting, and had showed his devotion towards ISIS by posting on Facebook. But Farook stopped making backing up on cloud towards the end of October, leaving the final month of the conversations accessible only on his iPhone.
President Obama first time addressed to this issue at South By Southwest Friday night about balancing privacy and security.
“What mechanisms do we have available that even do simple things like tax enforcement, because if in fact you cannot crack that at all, and government cannot get in, then everybody’s walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket. So there has to be some concession to the need to be able to get to that information somehow.”
Supporters with banners protesting against the FBI’s requirements.
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