Did Apple really claim it’s protecting the privacy of iPhone customers?
It’s almost impossible to find anyone hasn’t heard about the privacy case chest-thumping going on between Apple and the FBI, as well as a few other federal entities. And by now the interview with Tim Cook and David Muir is quite public, as well.
So how come, all of a sudden, Apple, Microsoft (although Bill Gates did come out on the government side) Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and countless others are all coming out in support of Apple and advocating staunch protection of privacy? After all, they have been violating privacy for years, watching where people go, what they buy, when they buy it, where they eat, what they eat…need I go on?
Apple refuses to unlock a phone to allow the FBI to see what is on it, claiming that would put millions of devices at risk for hacking. Yet for years Apple and the rest of these companies have been snooping around our computers, phones and tablets. And not once did they tell anyone that is what they are doing (other than burying it so deep in the EULA no human could possibly stay awake long enough to find it).
And behind the scenes they are developing the ability to capture even more data – Big Data. These same privacy advocates will take this “Big Data” and analyze it 37 million ways from Sunday. Next, they sell it to any number of retailers and marketers. Yet, at their convenience, they have all seemed to reverse their philosophies over this. And no one is calling them on it.
It’s not that the government is totally clean, either. They have been snooping on people for hundreds of years! But at least they admit it when they get caught (most of the time, anyway). Every one of my professional contacts in the silicon business has told me the same thing, and more than once. There isn’t a piece of silicon, an app, code, networks, or systems that can’t be hacked, given enough resources (meaning, time and money). A security expert noted that the government can easily hack that phone before the failsafe 10 tries is exceeded and the phone wipes the critical data. But the price tag is about a million dollars, using zero-day vulnerabilities. Considering the government wastes that much money every few minutes, this clearly isn’t about the money.
And about Apple’s position on establishing legal precedent, along with the 2014 change in its OS makes it so Apple can’t get into your phone via a backdoor – it is true that Apple says it cannot compromise the keys that are in its phones. And the way it handles the keys supports that, turning them over to the user and dropping out of the key chain. But another source who designs cryptography chips says that every chip manufacturer keeps a doomsday hack that can be used to access their chips if it becomes absolutely necessary.
But this is a special case. The FBI doesn’t want this data because it’s bored. So could this be one of those epic government vs. corporations battle? Is Apple testing the water, under the guise of privacy, to see if a company has finally become more powerful than a government? And is the government looking to assert its power and rights to protect the people, at any cost? It’s an interesting case, regardless of what’s behind it.
One of source says it is about the government bullying Apple. Had they asked nicely, Apple would have been more than happy to help. Personally, I doubt that. But nearly everyone has a position on this. Mine is that I want Apple to cooperate. Why? Because what if your family was a victim of this atrocious crime? Wouldn’t you want the law to have every tool at its disposal to find out the facts, and punish the guilty?
In the end, there likely will be some uber-secret agreement between Apple and the government, which unlocks the phone and still lets Apple and the government save face. But you probably won’t know about it for 50 years.
What’s your position?