Apple CEO writes letter to customers about refusing FBI request

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It is an unspoken promise that our technological lives are safe within our phones, and there should be no reason to be flooded with fear during our day-to-day lives in regard to our privacy no longer being a possibility.

The FBI’s proposed “back door” software would allow a user other than the iPhone’s owner to access information on any iPhone. Alexis Lungu | The Ticker

This is why the recent customer letter from Tim Cook has caused a considerable reason for divide among Apple users.The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, explained within the letter the current situation of the relationship between Apple and the FBI and why it should concern the public, more specifically, those who own Apple products.

The FBI is not interested in hacking into all of our phones and judging how many times we ordered from Seamless. They are trying to gain access into one phone in particular, the phone that belongs to Syed Farook. In December of 2015, Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 innocent civilians and wounded an additional 22 people in San Bernardino. This was known as the San Bernardino Massacre.

Farook and Malik were chased by the police and shot dead. When the FBI searched for more information in regard to those two individuals, they discovered smashed cellphones and absolutely no lead until they found Farook’s work phone, his iPhone 5C.

It can be easily assumed that the FBI would have no complication entering into this password-protected device, however, Apple has made it extremely hard to do so. Apple is known for putting the privacy of its customers first. Apple’s website contains their promise to the public’s privacy in complete detail.

“We’re committed to using powerful encryption because you should know the data on your device and the information you share with others is protected.” Apple has made it impossible to break into someone else’s iPhone. The minute you create your private passcode, you and only you have the ability to unlock it.

Apple does not have access to your passcode, and that means neither does the FBI. Since there is no “front door” access to the iPhone 5C that was retrieved, the FBI is asking Apple to create a “back door” capability to retrieve all the information within that phone. To create this back door capability, the FBI is asking Apple to create a new operating system that would enable the passcode to be inputted electronically.

When hooked up to specific software, the computer will generate thousands of different passcode variations into the phone allowing it to unlock once the correct passcode has been found. The plan for this special software, that Apple made sure to mention does not exist, is only to be used on the iPhone retrieved from the San Bernardino shooting.

It seems like a simple solution to this unprecedented issue, however, Apple has made it clear that opening a back door to one singular iPhone can lead to hackers unlocking the devices of any Apple user. Apple’s refusal to help the government lead to a battle between the two opposing sides. The government issued a court filing against Apple claiming their motives to be impure.

Within the filing, the government stated that Apple can easily unlock the phone without compromising the safety of other Apple users and that no one outside of Apple would have access to the software.This means that no hacker would be able to get their hands on it. The FBI claims Apple is using this situation as a way to build up their brand image within the eyes of consumers. Apple claims that while this is the first time they have been asked to go through such measures, it will not be the last.

If they comply with the government orders then they will continuously be asked to do it again and again and other prosecutors would ask for the software, leaving Apple pinned against the wall as they are now. The more the hypothetical software is used, the higher the probability of a hacker getting their hands on it. Apple claims their main concern is the safety and privacy of their users. Within the customer letter written by Cook, he states, “…ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”

There is no better time to bring up the Constitution. However, Apple may have a real business reason with regard to the issue of privacy. Once it breaks out that iPhones are no longer safe, Apple may lose customers. It all comes down to weighing out the risks. Unlocking this phone may keep our country safe, but it also may be a new means for the government to infringe upon our privacy.

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