There has been a federal court order handed down in California, one that could set an important precedent for your privacy rights in regards to your mobile phone.
Thanks to the Snowden leaks of 2013 both Android and iOS now have full disk encryption enabled by default. It’s being widely misreported that a magistrate judge has ordered Apple to break that encryption for an iPhone 5c belonging to one of the accused San Bernardino shooters. This, of course, is technically impossible. What the government and its investigators are really after is a backdoor to bypass Apple’s additional security measures.
Specifically, Apple is being tasked with coding software that bypasses the “ten tries and wipe” feature of iOS. The Electronic Frontier Foundation finds this particularly troubling:
Essentially, the government is asking Apple to create a master key so that it can open a single phone. And once that master key is created, we’re certain that our government will ask for it again and again, for other phones, and turn this power against any software or device that has the audacity to offer strong security.
In a rare open letter to Apple customers, CEO Tim Cook went public with the company’s opposition to the court’s demands:
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.
And that’s pretty much where we’re at. On one hand, we’ve got investigators exploiting every available resource to bring murderers to justice; on the other, the world’s most profitable smartphone maker putting the privacy of its customers on the line.
Which side are you on?