The ongoing battle between Apple and FBI is far from over. Apple opposed a court order asking them to assist the FBI in unlocking an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino shootings suspect. Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a public letter on why Apple thinks FBI’s demand could create a “dangerous precedent” and how the tool developed for this particular case can fall into wrong hands.
Cook said FBI’s demands were “chilling” and while not doubting their intentions, he said the tool can end up in wrong hands and it would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.
“If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data,” said Cook. “Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create.”
FBI on other hands, says that they want to unlock “a single iPhone” involved in this particular case and that Apple can keep the tool in their own possession and even destroy it thereafter.
Today, software-giant Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates cleared his views on the matter. Gates backed FBI saying “they are not asking for some general thing.” Gates also disagrees with Tim Cook’s fear that the FBI’s request would create an iPhone backdoor.
“This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information. They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case,” Gates told the Financial Times.
It is no different than [the question of] should anybody ever have been able to tell the phone company to get information, should anybody be able to get at bank records. Let’s say the bank had tied a ribbon round the disk drive and said ‘don’t make me cut this ribbon because you’ll make me cut it many times.’
Bill Gates also believes that there must be rules on when the government is able to access such data and hopes for a debate on the matter.
I hope that we have that debate so that the safeguards are built and so people do not opt — and this will be country by country — [to say] it is better that the government does not have access to any information.
Bill Gates stand correct in his own way stating FBI’s demand is only for this particular case. But Tim Cook and others’ fear can prove to be a nightmare for everyone believing in security, encryption and privacy, if turned out to be true.
Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp have stood by Apple’s side backing Apple and Tim Cook’s stance on the matter. Google CEO Sundar Pichai called for an open discussion on such situation while supporting Tim Cook’s views.
This calls out for an open debate whether corporations should be forced to break security of their own devices and on other hands, this definitely shouldn’t turn into an easy way of hiding dangerous information away by criminals.
What do you think about this matter? Feel free to have your say.