By Leonel Rojas ‘17
The FBI and Apple are fighting about unlocking the iPhone that Syed Rizwan Farook was using on the day of the San Bernardino shooting on December 2 of 2015.
The actual thought of giving the FBI a way to unlock an iPhone is dangerous, since this may lead to potential hackers finding a way to exploit the case.
What the FBI wanted Apple to do in the San Bernardino case was to create a backdoor to the iPhone. In a message on Apple’s website that was put up on February 16 2016, Apple said that while they will do everything they can in order to help in the case, they cannot create this backdoor. The customer letter then goes on to say that if they were to create such a program, there would be a possibility that the same program would be used by both the government and hackers. This would lead to a breach in their customers’ privacy and security.
The FBI is asking for the creation of the program, which they would only use once on this iPhone in order to find out more information about the events that took before and after the shooting. Other individuals are supporting the FBI, since this might help in the San Bernardino shooting.
However, while the FBI is only asking about a program to do this once, they may use that same program in order to breach the security in other iPhones either with or without their consent. The news of a program that can breach the IPhone would lead to many hackers trying to get their hands on how to do it as well. In the article Breaking Down Apple’s iPhone Fight With the U.S. Government by The New York Times, if Apple were to allow the United States access to this type of program, they would be forced to allow the Chinese Government this same program, since they are Apple’s second-largest market and they have been asking for this type of program in order to look at their citizen’s privacy.
Other individuals who agree that Apple should help the FBI might say that it’s important to find out how the San Bernardino shooting occurred, and if there were others who assisted them. They would also say that Apple should trust the FBI, since they help protect the nation from attacks from the outside. The program itself would also be used in helping to solve other cases in which aggressors who have committed similar attacks had their iPhones on them. This would lead to the local authorities to find out where they were before and after the incident.
However, while the FBI are one of the several organizations that protects our nation from outside aggressors, they could also use this very program to violate our privacy. The reason is that the majority of people carry around them an iPhone, and the use of this type of program would violate our civil rights. The program would also be known, which would make hackers eventually get a hold of this program, jeopardizing our privacy.
In an article called FBI Wants to ‘Turn Back the Clock’ on iPhone: Apple Software Head by Matthew Deluca from NBC news, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering said, “Once created, this software — which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all.”