Saturday, 22 October 2016
APPLE: Have been criticised in the past, along with other network providers. APPLE: Have been criticised in the past, along with other network providers. © flickr by Mike Deerkoski

Apple shaken to the core

US court ruled the company must help the FBI access an iPhone belonging to a terrorist

ONE of the largest corporations in the world is facing a major crisis of conscience following a decision made by a US court, which ruled that Apple must help the FBI to circumvent the encryption on an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernadino Daesh terrorists, in the hope that it will find information about others in their network.

In simple terms, Apple and network providers were criticised in the past for allowing the US government access to observe data being sent through their phones, and they have spent a great deal of time and money in developing new methods of encrypting their phones to stop them from being hacked.

In this particular case, the FBI doesn’t know the passcode which would allow them access to the phone and its contents, but if they try too many random codes they will be locked out and the data may be erased.

What they want Apple to do is to unlock the phone so that they can try random numbers until they hit the right combination, but Apple is against this and is possibly going to argue that the encryption is so complicated that even they don’t know how to bypass it, so will have to have new programmes to allow them to break in themselves.

If by agreeing to this and the authorities do find terrorist contacts, then Apple should feel they have done the right thing, but if the phone is innocent, what happens when there is a similar request now the government knows it can be done, and where do you draw the line?

Speaking as an innocent in the tech world, it strikes me that if a 15-year-old can hack into a global corporations website from a home computer, anything is possible. If Apple don’t do it openly, the US government will find some way of doing it clandestinely and then we will never know.

If ‘Big Brother’ is watching, then I would prefer to know about it than not, but equally in the words of a number of reactionaries ‘if you have nothing to hide why worry’?

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