I’ve been following the news lately, as sometimes I’m won’t to do, and I came across this rather intriguing story. The FBI (the big, burly dudes meant to protect us) has found an iPhone that was apparently owned by one of the recent terrorists that were taken down. The phone is locked, and has protection that the FBI believes has the auto-erase feature enabled, so………too many attempts to hack the passcode, and the data inside goes *poof!* and is no more.
This……is a bit of a problem. So how do they intend on fixing this little issue? By trying to force Apple to break it’s own renowned security, thus creating a backdoor hole through which they can get into this phone to see what is in there. This seems to put sides at an impasse, and Apple is doing its darndest to stand up to the big, bad, goon squad. Why? Because Apple prides itself on keeping information for its consumers private – to where no one but the person who owns the device can access it. That is something we all enjoy on our devices, am I right?
So……..here is the question. The government believes and suspects there is information on this phone that will aid them in bringing down terrorists. The problem is……belief and suspicion in this case is not proof. They don’t know for 100% certain that this information is on this phone in question. For all they know, it just has his MP3 list and a collection of scenery shots, as well as a recipe for meatloaf, for all the good that would do for our vaunted national security. Now they are taking this issue all the way to court to force Apple to abide by their wishes and create a hack for their own system that the government can use to jailbreak this phone open to see what’s inside.
Another question……….what happens if they do this? This creates a huge, gaping hole in the security that Apple prides itself on. What if someone else gets this “key to the kingdom”? What then? What assurance do they have that the government won’t use this again and again to their own ends? I don’t think they do. I can see why Apple is so hesitant to let this happen. This is a security breach that could cause untold amounts of havok, yet the FBI still insists on having it done.
Okay, fine…….here is my proposed solution. I hope someone is reading this and actually ponders this thought.
If Apple does create this backdoor and is able to come up with a way of unlocking this phone, it should be done on their property, along with FBI agents watching. Once the phone is opened, the contents are moved to an FBI hard drive, and then the phone itself is factory reset, subjected to electromagnets, and destroyed, thus eliminating this code from being retrieved from this device, and still kept in Apple’s hands, after which time, Apple can simply erase the program from existence. That way, the FBI gets the info they want and Apple keeps its security intact.
Would either side agree to this type of proposal? Apple………in all honesty, if they thought it best, might. The FBI…….no one can ever be sure about. Something that potentially damaging should not be let out of closely-guarded hands, and the company that produces those products would be the safest hands for that code to be kept in.
It’ll be interesting to see how this drama plays out, and who ends up being the big loser in the end. If the government gets its way though, I fear we will all be losers in the end, all in the name of security.