This will probably have been figured out by the time this post ever shows up, but as of this moment, in the middle of February, these are my views. Recently, there’s been a court order instructing Apple to provide assistance to the FBI in unlocking the cell phone once owned by San Bernardino terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Well, maybe not owned since it was Farook’s work phone, but at least controlled. We know that Farook turned off the cloud backup feature about 10 days before the attacks and the FBI wants to know what might be stored on the phone, just in case it might point to future attacks or other terrorists living in the U.S. To this end, they went to Apple for help unlocking the phone. Apple refused. Even when the courts ordered Apple to comply, Apple still refused. They say they’re afraid that unlocking this phone will give the government more access to being able to hack other cell phones, but I don’t buy it for a moment.
Now I’m a big proponent of the right to privacy, but whose privacy are we talking about here? Farook and Malik were terrorists, but both of them are dead. Corpses have no right to privacy. Further, it isn’t even their phone, it is owned by the State of California, which has asked Apple for help in unlocking the phone. Apple has coded a safety system into their software, if you enter the password wrong 10 times, it deletes all data. Therefore, they want Apple to make a crack for the phone so that they can brute-force the phone.
I will say I am completely against handing the FBI a piece of software that they can reverse engineer to open any and all phones. I know that some in the FBI hope that’s what they’re going to get. They should never have access to it. However, instead of suggesting another alternative, that being to turn over the phone to Apple, let Apple unlock it without the FBI ever having access to any software that they could possibly reverse engineer, and turn the unlocked contents over to the government, Apple is just being a petulant child and refusing to play ball at all. Surely, I can’t be the only one who has thought of this alternative solution, can I?
I’ve seen some suggest that maybe Apple can’t unlock the phone, that they simply lack the technical abilities, that they have made their phones unhackable. I don’t believe it for a second, especially since we already know that Chinese hackers managed to hack into the iCloud and Apple didn’t even admit to it for a full month. We also know that there are vulnerabilities in the iOS system that makes it vulnerable to hacks. If Apple, a well-known control freak company can’t even make their system secure, the idea that they can’t get into their own phones is ludicrous. Besides, if they were absolutely unable to get into the phone, if it was so secure that Apple couldn’t possibly unlock it, Apple would have just said that. They would have issued a press release saying that they were incapable of complying with the court order. That’s not what they did. Instead, they essentially told the government “we’re not going to help you, so there!” I don’t care what excuses they make, it’s the complete lack of helpfulness that proves, once again, that Apple is a bunch of spoiled rotten assholes.
Let’s be honest. A cell phone is the modern equivalent of a file cabinet. A judge can issue a search warrant for the cabinet and whoever is in control of the cabinet is required by law to open up the cabinet for inspection. You wouldn’t get very far if you decided that no, you were not going to allow it because maybe, just maybe, it might make it easier to get into other file cabinets in the future. At best, that’s civil disobedience and civil disobedience requires that you pay the penalty for your refusal with jail time. Anyone think some Apple higher ups are headed to prison soon?
So in conclusion, I don’t want Apple to hand over the keys to the farm to the FBI. I do expect them to comply with the court order and do whatever they can do to unlock said phone. They can do it at their facility with their own people without the FBI being involved at all. If the FBI refuses, that tells us something about their intentions. But for Apple to simply refuse to provide any help at all, under any circumstances at all, that’s a pure dick move. But what can you expect from Apple anyhow? Dick is what they do best.