The FBI Wants to Hack Into a Terrorist’s iPhone – and Apple is Pushing Back

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  • The FBI’s search for information about the San Bernardino killer has turned into a public showdown between Apple and the US Government.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook released a public letter to his customers – and everyone on the internet – revealing that the US Government is pressuring him to create a way for the FBI to hack into the iPhone of a San Bernardino shooting suspect. According to Cook, this could potentially give the government access to any iPhone they want.

    ”The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand. 

    “This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.”

    Following the San Bernardino shooting, Apple worked with the FBI to provide valuable information about the suspects – but now the FBI is asking Apple to essentially build a backdoor to the suspect’s iPhone.

    ”Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.”

    Cook says the FBI insists the operating system could only be used once on this one specific iPhone, but he argues that there is no way to guarantee such control. In the wrong hands, the backdoor could operate as a master key that could unlock any phone, anywhere – and the precedent could pave the way for Big Brother-style surveillance. “The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge,” he says.

    Many people – including Edward Snowden, famous for hacking the government’s secret information and releasing it to the public – are outraged at the FBI and cheering on Cook’s decision:

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  • Others argue that Tim Cook is overreacting and it’s a matter of national security.

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  • This will likely be a debate that will take over social media for much of the day. What do you think – should the FBI be granted access to the killer’s iPhone, or is this a step too far?