Apple engineers would rather quit than create an iOS backdoor

JC Torres - Mar 18, 2016
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Apple engineers would rather quit than create an iOS backdoor

Given the very high profile and tragic circumstances surrounding the San Bernardino case, even some of those siding with Apple's views fear that the government might win this case, opening up a can of worms for the future. But even if it does, the FBI might hit a snag in getting cooperation from Apple's minions. Several Apple employees, both former and current, are already mulling their options should that day come, going as far as considering quitting instead of being forced to break the security they themselves worked hard to strengthen.

It is a worst case scenario but one that could throw the FBI's plans into mayhem. Apple already explained how much human resources would be needed to create what it mockingly called "govtOS". But that might even be a generous estimate, as the number of people involved in making sure iOS works can go well beyond just 10. And that is if said engineers will be willing to do the burdensome work.

Apple argues that the government is forcing it to perform an action that is deeply offensive to its core principles. Some have even compared it to compelling a doctor to break his or her Hippocratic Oath. Faced with such a dire situation, some of Apple's employees signified they would refuse to do the job or even outrightly quit. Those people wouldn't be out of a job for long, though, especially given the circumstances of their departure from the company.

Of course, they, as well as Apple, could be held in contempt if the courts consider it as a mere delaying tactic. It will, however, be yet another round of legal back and worth which would inevitably cost even the government time and money.

It is a worst case scenario that has yet to take place, of course. And even then, the government may have another recourse. In its legal response to Apple, it already hinted at the possibility of requiring Apple to hand over the source code to iOS. Should Apple's employees do take that route, the government could argue that it has no choice but to demand that source code. That is, of course, if it actually wins the initial court face off.

SOURCE: New York Times