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Apple continues to fight court order, we have an idea that could help both sides

Apple has been in a standoff against the FBI for a few weeks and neither side seems willing to budge. Here’s the latest development and where we think it’s headed.


New Development in Apple’s Stand Against the FBI

Last week, we discussed Apple’s stand against the FBI and why they are challenging Judge Sheri Pym’s order to break into an encrypted iPhone. The iPhone in question was evidence found in a search after the San Bernardino terrorist attack last December, and although the iPhone was not found on the attacker, it was discovered in a search after the fact and could contain endless data (from texts to location to which dark networks they could have accessed).

Apple is still asserting that this court order could set a slippery slope of legal precedence.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said the order “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” and “Apple hacking their own user sets a ‘dangerous precedent.’” This is a unique case indeed. Nothing scares people more than an issue of national security and with the FBI’s involvement, the issue has only escalated. It is no help that cable television talking heads are poorly educated on this topic, yet present themselves as experts (unable to cite even the most basic of stats, like what year Apple moved to this new encryption system).

Cook stated, “We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good,” said Cook. “Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.”

After a seemingly endless standoff, what happens next?

After going back and forth with the FBI in regards to what will be done, Apple has finally posed one possible option: the creation of a specialized committee to deal with the matter.

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Apple stated, “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.”

FBI Director, James Comey stated that “the particular legal issues is actually quite narrow and the [legal] relief [they] seek is limited and its value increasingly obsolete because the technology continues to evolve.”

However, Apple continues to see the demands as anything but narrow and obsolete. Apple built security into their phones to protect the very information the FBI wants them to retrieve. Apple has stated that “the only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, is to never create it.” It seems as though the tool to break into the iPhone is in high demand as the NYPD and New York District Attorney have condemned Apple’s encryption stated there are at least 175 iPhones in their possession they’d like to unlock and use to investigate criminal cases.

Where’s the resolution? (We have an idea)

I’m not sure there is any quick and easy resolution at this point in the game. It seems as though both Apple and the FBI have their feet firmly planted in the ground and both make convincing arguments for their positions.

We would like to offer another alternative.

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The roadmap is already provided by Google Android. They offer encrypted sign-on that wipes all data after too many sign-in attempts. However, this isn’t the default setting.

Apple could “compromise” by offering the high level of encryption as an option, not the default. This might be a good first step that would serve both sides. \

What do you think? Is there a resolution in sight or is this a deadlock?


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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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