After the deadly shooting that occurred in San Bernardino California, leaving 14 families heartbroken and many more beside them devastated, the federal government has requested the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, to give the ability and the tools to unlock any Apple phone.
Here is a copy of Mr. Cook’s response to the Government,
Subject: Thank you for your support
Last week we asked our customers and people across the United States to join a public dialogue about important issues facing our country. In the week since that letter, I’ve been grateful for the thought and discussion we’ve heard and read, as well as the outpouring of support we’ve received from across America.
As individuals and as a company, we have no tolerance or sympathy for terrorists. When they commit unspeakable acts like the tragic attacks in San Bernardino, we work to help the authorities pursue justice for the victims. And that’s exactly what we did.
This case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation, so when we received the government’s order we knew we had to speak out. At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people, and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties.
As you know, we use encryption to protect our customers — whose data is under siege. We work hard to improve security with every software release because the threats are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated all the time.
Some advocates of the government’s order want us to roll back data protections to iOS 7, which we released in September 2013. Starting with iOS 8, we began encrypting data in a way that not even the iPhone itself can read without the user’s passcode, so if it is lost or stolen, our personal data, conversations, financial and health information are far more secure. We all know that turning back the clock on that progress would be a terrible idea.
Our fellow citizens know it, too. Over the past week I’ve received messages from thousands of people in all 50 states, and the overwhelming majority are writing to voice their strong support. One email was from a 13-year-old app developer who thanked us for standing up for “all future generations.” And a 30-year Army veteran told me, “Like my freedom, I will always consider my privacy as a treasure.”
I’ve also heard from many of you and I am especially grateful for your support.
Many people still have questions about the case and we want to make sure they understand the facts. So today we are posting answers on apple.com/customer-letter/answers/ to provide more information on this issue. I encourage you to read them.
Apple is a uniquely American company. It does not feel right to be on the opposite side of the government in a case centering on the freedoms and liberties that government is meant to protect.
Our country has always been strongest when we come together. We feel the best way forward would be for the government to withdraw its demands under the All Writs Act and, as some in Congress have proposed, form a commission or other panel of experts on intelligence, technology and civil liberties to discuss the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy and personal freedoms. Apple would gladly participate in such an effort.
People trust Apple to keep their data safe, and that data is an increasingly important part of everyone’s lives. You do an incredible job protecting them with the features we design into our products. Thank you.
As quoted by Cook, “This case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation, so when we received the government’s order we knew we had to speak out. At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people, and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties.”
If Apple was to give the ability for the Government to unlock phones there would be many positives, yet there would be many negatives. Some positives would include easier case resolution along with more data to be analyzed to prove innocence or guilt and or any other connections to any affiliations with other “groups”. Some negatives would include the Government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong and invading your privacy. We already have the NSA doing that; we don’t need the federal government doing it too. If something was bad enough, I feel the NSA should be doing what they already do and report possible threats.
And for the people who thought Apple unlocked their phones before for the government when they requested, they never did. The government had only extracted whatever data they could have pulled at the moment, including Imessage’s, call logs, contacts, etc. That was back with iOS 7 being not as secure as iOS 8 and above. After iOS 7 data was not able to be extracted from the phones locked with a activation lock. What the government wants at the moment is either the tools to unlock and or decrypt the encryption on the phones. Some advocates even want Apple to roll back security encryption back to IOS 7 because they were able to extract data without unlocking the phones.
Fun fact/Side note – If you are ever arrested and the police may need to get access to your phone, make sure that you do NOT have your fingerprint as your locking mechanism, because they do NOT require a warrant to just take your hand and unlock your phone with your fingerprint. With a pin/password they do require a warrant to unlock your phone.
I myself am not a current Apple user, but I am very familiar with their products as I previously had a Iphone 5s, Ipod 5th Gen, Ipad 2, Ipad Air, and a few Macs here and there. I value my civil liberties and I am not consenting to the use of a tool for I believe that everyone deserves privacy and not having the need to worry about the government going through my belongings. If there was ever such a tool to be able to break all encryption everything would be in chaos once someone who isn’t supposed to have it gets their hands on it. Most likely they would break it down, copy it, then redistribute it on the black market for a HUGE profit. They even could make it so that it unlocks even more than just Apple products.
Apple definitely shouldn’t revert security either because back with IOS 7 it was way less secure when it came to pass codes and encryption, I was even able to break a few in my free time. (3 to be exact) (Took me about 6 hours with a digital pattern decryptor and over time I got better to the point where it only took me 2.5 hours) Personally and through other people who care about privacy, I say no to any of this. No tool should ever be created, no reverting of security. I think Apple should just cooperate when needed for serious offences when the owner is dead and especially if the owner happens to affiliate themselves with terrorists or any group willing to harm other people.