In December, a man and a woman went on a shooting rampage in a healthcare center in San Bernardino, California. While the tragedy occurred nearly three months ago, its effects are still creating havoc in ways that may not have previously been expected.
Tech giant Apple is facing scrutiny for their iPhone’s recent involvement with one of the San Bernardino shooters. Due to much controversy and fear concerning the iPhone’s possible role in future mass shootings, the government is urging Apple to create a “backdoor” for the F.B.I. to use in order to gain access to the phone. If granted access, the F.B.I. could potentially gain knowledge on other terrorist cells that exist within the United States and stop any new attacks before they happen.
“Data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people is at stake,” says Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook. Cook is voicing his concern that giving this access will essentially remove any form of security users possess on their iPhones.
Apple released a statement regarding the current position of the attacker’s iPhone by saying that someone who worked with the F.B.I. damaged the phone even more by changing the Apple ID associated with the iPhone. This caused the iPhone’s data to be erased. Apple is saying this is making it virtually impossible to gain access to the device at all, even with a hacking method.
All devices from Apple are protected through data-encryption. Apple has made it clear that they have no control over their customers’ information on iPhones. For example, all of the iMessages sent from user to user are not accessed anywhere but locally on the device. As of now, Apple has asserted nearly full security for their users.
According to a New York Times article, written by Matt Apuzzo and Katie Benner, Apple is now trying to release a new version of iOS software that would make it harder for the government to gain access to iPhone’s. The White House released a statement saying that it will not ask Congress to pass a law requiring technology companies to give the F.B.I a way to gain access to customer data.
Recently, Apple hired Frederic Jacobs, a developer who worked on Signal, an encrypted instant messaging app. Jacobs tweeted shortly after his recruitment to Apple, “I’m delighted to announce that I accepted an offer to be working with the CoreOS security team at Apple this summer.” This new addition supports the claim that Apple is going to be releasing a higher security version of iOS.
In order to create the “backdoor,” the company would have to build a software program that enters all passcode combinations at once to allow officials to access everyone’s phone with a single passcode. Apple’s stance to maintain full security has recently gained supporters from the American public, while the F.B.I. is gaining support from the families of the victims of the shooting. Additionally, Apple is supported by CEOs at large tech companies around the world, two of which are Sundar Pichai from Google and Jack Dorsey from Twitter.
With increasing security threats, Apple may be in the works for a higher security version of iOS with or without support from the American public.