06 April, 2016

FBI: Unlock this iPhone. Apple: No.

In February 2016, the FBI asked Apple to do.. something, to unlock an iPhone used by a terrorist. Now what they actually want and their motives and the implications and all that is all very complicated and wrapped under layers of politics, legal ramifications and PR spin so I don't know what the truth is, much like the school clock bomber case. Only know this - Apple's motives aren't so altruistic, they're motivated by PR and profits as well. Or the massive leak of celebrity pictures a few years ago wouldn't have happened. But this is a huge issue, much like net neutrality (oh my, another can of worms).

Ok so what does the FBI want?
Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation.
This makes no sense to me. YOU CAN'T INSTALL/UPGRADE IOS ON A LOCKED PHONE! If you do, you'll lose the data anyway.
Also, why does the FBI need Apple's help with this specific phone anyway? They've broken into locked phones before - look at the Wikipedia article,
It was revealed as a part of the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures by Edward Snowden that the NSA and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had access to the user data in iPhones, BlackBerry, and Android phones and could read almost all smartphone information, including SMS, location, emails, and notes.
They eventually got into this one without Apple's help. Heck, just go to any phone repair shop and they can probably do it too. This isn't FBI-level difficulty. So what was the FBI asking for?
Also, ok - maybe they want an insecure iOS, for this and future cases, so they don't have to send 1 person to the mall for a day to unlock an iPhone. Why can't they write it themselves? Why do they need Apple to write it?

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