Daily Management Review

Fight Over Access to a Terrorist's IPhone Set Corporations Against Politicians


US technology companies united against onslaught of the authorities, who want to get access to personal data of users. Before, Apple refused to satisfy a court order to aid the FBI in hacking a phone belonged to a liquidated shooter. The corporation’s decision was supported by Google, WhatsApp and Edward Snowden. The politicians, including Donald Trump, publicly criticized the company for refuse to comply with the judgment and help the intelligence agencies.

John Mitchell via flickr
John Mitchell via flickr
The judicial conflict between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is based on a smartphone owned by a terrorist Syed Farook, who along with his wife Tashfeen Malik opened a fire in the county public health department in the city of San Bernardino on December 2 last year. As a result, 14 people were killed, and another 21 were injured. The terrorists were later liquidated by the security services arrived at the place. Within two following months, FBI experts had been trying to crack the shooter’s iPhone to find out how closely he could be linked to the terrorist group "Islamic State." However, all attempts were in vain because of the improved personal data protection system, which Apple had installed on the latest generation of their devices. As a result, the FBI went to court demanding that the corporation provide a special program that will remove the restriction on the number of attempts to pick the correct password, and also allows to do it not manually, but automatically.

Yet, Apple considered such a requirement unacceptable: "We are very respectful of the professionals working for the FBI, and we believe that they are acting with the best intentions - are the words of Apple's CEO Tim Cook given in an official statement.- Up to this the time we did everything in our power and within the law to help them. However, we simply don’t have what the US government are now asking of us. We believe that to create something like that would be too dangerous - they have asked us to create a way to bypass iPhone security system."

Today, Google Vice President Sundar Pichar spoke in support of Tim Cook. Here’s what he wrote in his account on Twitter: "1/5 Important post by @tim_cook. Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy", - said Mr. Pichar.

WhatsApp messenger’s founder Jan Koum noted the danger of such a judgment: "I have always admired Tim Cook for his stance for privacy and Apple’s efforts to protect user data and couldn’t agree more with everything said in their Customer Letter today. We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today, our freedom and our liberty is at stake, "- wrote Mr. Koum on his page on Facebook.

According to the former CIA officer Edward Snowden, access to the terrorist’s phone will in future allow FBI to hack any mobile device in only half an hour: "the FBI creates a world in which citizens rely on Apple in regard to the protection of their rights, not vice versa".

Yet, the American politicians took the side of the security forces. So, the famous billionaire and presidential candidate of the Republican Party, Donald Trump quite sharply reacted to Apple's refusal to cooperate with the FBI: "What do I think about the fact that Apple does not allow us to gain access to the phone? Who do they think they are? No, we should do it. This is a case where we definitely need to get access. It is necessary to find out what happened, why it happened, perhaps there were other people involved. And we must do it ", - the politician said in an interview to Fox&Friends TV channel.

Senator Tom Cotton went even further and accused Apple of aiding terrorists and drug dealers: "Interpersonal encryption problem affects not only the terrorism’s theme. There is drug trafficking, abduction of children and child pornography. Deplorable that a company such as Apple chose the side of terrorists, drug dealers and sex maniacs of all kinds."

source: cnn.com