February 25, 2016 — I doubt anyone hasn’t heard of the chest bumping by both Apple and the FBI over the San Bernardino shooter whose cell phone is believed to contain evidence in the shooting there several months ago.
The fate of the first amendment is at stake; every phone will all of a sudden be able to be hacked; the Pandora’s box of big brother invading every nook and cranny of our lives will be realized – and all of this will happen if Apple helps the government hack a cell phone. This is what Apple’s Tim Cook, or Apple’s lawyer about what will happen if Apple does what the FBI wants. Never mind it is the cell phone of a terrorist – err, excuse me, a suspected terrorist, who committed one of the most heinous acts of terrorism in years.
But here is what is ironic about this. All of a sudden Apple is the champion in protecting your privacy. How come Apple, and for that matter the rest of the players in that game (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, the cable companies, MNOs and countless others) is taking such a staunch position to protect data privacy? After all, isn’t this exactly what they have been doing to us for years? Following everything we do. Catching our locations 24/7 and analyzing what we buy, where we buy it, how often we buy it, where we eat, what we eat…need I go on? Even our smart TV’s are spying on us!
The truth is that there isn’t a piece of silicon, an app, code, networks or system that can’t be hacked, given enough resources (read, money). In a recent conversation with a contemporary in the hardware security business he presented the case that the government can easily hack that phone, but the price tag is about a million dollars. Heck the government wastes that much money on all kinds of ridiculous and frivolous actions. For example, the NASA spends close to $1 million per year developing a menu of food for a manned mission to Mars even though it is being projected that a manned mission to Mars is still decades away. Another one is that the federal government spent $750,000 on a new soccer field for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. We all know that list is endless. So what is the big deal about the FBI spending the million dollars and telling Apple to pound sand?
And Apple’s position is about the slippery slope that such government overreach would establish for the future, and that the 2014 change in its OS makes it so Apple can’t get into your phone via a backdoor…well, I’m not buying either of those, either.
I guess if I were Tim Cook, I’d be a bit miffed that the FBI wants Apple to create a special program to create forensics for the FBI, without any compensation. But c’mon Apple, you have more money than God…are you forgetting about the real issue?
If this were the terrorist’s bank account, they would have the data in a minute. Same with phone records, or any other data, with the full cooperation of the any entity that has it. Corporate data is subpoenaed all the time. I just don’t believe that Apple and the FBI can’t, rather easily, just hack this one phone without jeopardizing the entire device infrastructure.
So what is it? is this one of those quintessential situations of government vs. corporate. Is Apple using the guise of privacy to see if they can beat the government; to see who is the more powerful? And is the government feeling its manhood is being challenged because Apple refuses to obey a legitimate subpoena? Seems there is something going on here we really aren’t privy to.
Bottom line…my position is that I want Apple to cooperate. Why, what if it were one of your loved ones that died that day. Wouldn’t you want the law to find every piece of evidence to bring such an evil person to justice? I know I would.
In the end, I think there will be a behind the scenes agreement between the parties that will give the FBI the ability to unlock the phone and no security will be compromised. Heck FBI, just give Apple the million dollars…that should make Tim happy, you get to unlock the phone and all that extra testosterone can be mopped up.
Let me know what you think.