This headline has been dominating the tech news the past few weeks. Apple is fighting the FBI who wants them to allow access to an iPhone that was linked to the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting. It’s caused some mixed feelings by many. Is Apple right to reject the FBI’s request?
Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik attended a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and holiday party at the Inland Regional Center. Of the eighty employees, Farook, American-born but of Pakistani descent, was one of them. The couple opened fire and killed fourteen and injured twenty-two more and were later killed in a shootout with the police. FBI investigators recovered electronic devices belonging to them including flash drives, hard drives, and Farook’s iPhone 5C.
The FBI would like to get into the iPhone to discover contacts, photos, messages, etc. to help them solve the case and figure out why they targeted the holiday party, if they planned any more attacks, and whether or not they were working in conjunction with overseas terrorists. But the phone is locked with a passcode, and after ten incorrect attempts, an iPhone wipes all the data.
The FBI is demanding that Apple help them break into the phone. They want them to create a backdoor into the iPhone, but Apple is afraid of any future implications of such a tool or method.
This, of course, is something that could eventually affect you and your device. In answering this question, remember what you would want the maker of your cell phone or OS to do. Would you want them to be able to break into your phone even if you have it locked?
Is Apple right in rejecting the FBI’s request?