Apple’s message to you and me

The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.

Smartphones, led by iPhone, have become an essential part of our lives. People use them to store an incredible amount of personal information, from our private conversations to our photos, our music, our notes, our calendars and contacts, our financial information and health data, even where we have been and where we are going.

All that information needs to be protected from hackers and criminals who want to access it, steal it, and use it without our knowledge or permission. Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data.

Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us…

When the FBI has requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case. We have also made Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and we’ve offered our best ideas on a number of investigative options at their disposal…

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. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession…

The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control…

The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.

We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack. For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. Criminals and bad actors will still encrypt, using tools that are readily available to them.

Rather than asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority…

Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.

While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.

Tim Cook

RTFA for a wee bit more detail. Well meaning folks who accept the FBI premise that somehow Apple already has a secret way to shutdown the “10-trial-and-wipe” feature enabled on a terrorist’s iPhone is a conclusion easy for an American to reach. A well-meaning and ignorant American. One of the best ways to design a warranty is to guarantee a product will self-destruct if tampered with. Turn it into a brick.

There is no need for a backdoor to get in and fiddle with the code. Make the attempt to do so cause an irretrievable act of destruction and you’ve fulfilled the guaranty of privacy. It was a revelation the first time I encountered that concept – over 60 years ago. I imagine it wasn’t new, then.

Equally important to my personal view is that this case is an excellent illustration of how little difference there is between the two old parties. When push comes to shove, both will come down on the side of political rule over individual liberty, personal privacy. The head of the FBI was appointed by a liberal Democrat, Barack Obama. The judge in the case, a Democrat, was appointed by a liberal Democrat, Barack Obama.

War or peace, individual liberty versus conformity defined from the top down, I have seen no reason to cast my lot with either of the two mediocrities we get to choose from to staff and guide our government. Unlike libertarians I absolutely endorse the premise of republican government – and democratic guidance by the people. That simply works better over time than the alternatives. The deliberate imposition of narrow, foot-dragging ideology by the liberal and conservative wings of class-based politicians is something I’ve had to confront since the first time I sat down at a drugstore counter with a Black friend of mine and ordered soft drinks for both of us…thereby breaking a law as “sacred” to the cops of America at the time as the crap abuse of a law from 1789 now is to the FBI and the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

#standwithapple

3 thoughts on “Apple’s message to you and me

  1. moss says:

    White House spokesman affirmed Obama backing FBI, court, sophistry about “only” asking Apple to unlock login procedure. Obama knows better. FBI knows better. Only the talkng heads seem never to have learned anything about software.

  2. drugsandotherthings says:

    This will be an interesting battle. And let’s make no mistake- Silicon Valley understands that unbreakable encryption is crucial to modern business being able to protect their trade secrets and their plans. Many in the government actually understand this as well, but they still life in a fairytale world where their having a magic key shouldn’t pose a problem….
    Hopefully Apple will promise if they are forced to “help” they will openly publish all the help they gave- thereby giving the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, The Israelis the same access to the very same encryption the entire beltway crowd depends on.

  3. keaneo says:

    Whiners will be consistent with their parallels in any Constitutional or Bill of Rights issue. Though these are standards and IMHO are suitable for modernization, they are still all-inclusive standards. That means free speech is protected even if practiced by some racist schmuck. Most Americans don’t understand the use of such standards. A significant number – today – wouldn’t vote for the Bill of Rights. The product, in my mind, of lousy education both within school systems and from our fearless politicians.

    Last month, Obama condemned China’s consideration of a law which would authorize exactly what he and FBI now want from Apple. Hypocrisy, corrupt and lazy politics.

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