In their effort to collect data and evidence in the case against the terrorists who killed multiple people in San Bernadino last year the FBI has been working with Apple to gain access to the shooter’s iPhone. Apple was ordered this week to disable autowipe on the iPhone collected as evidence in the case. Autowipe is a security feature that deletes data from the phone if the password is entered incorrectly too many times.
A court order was issued to compel Apple to disable the autowipe feature and Apple has now issued a letter outlining its stance on the issues. Apple says that the US government has taken a step that would threaten the security of its customers and that it is opposing the order because it has implications beyond the case at hand. Apple also says that this government request calls for public discussion.
Apple says that it was “shocked and outraged by the deadly act of terrorism in San Bernardino last December.” It has supported the FBI in its investigation since being asked to help and Apple is clear that it has no sympathy for terrorists. Apple has provided all data it has in its possession to authorities and complied with valid subpoenas and search warrants as well as making engineers available.
Apple says that the FBI wants it to make a new version of iOS that would circumvent important security features and install that new OS on the iPhone recovered in the investigation. The problem is that Apple claims in the wrong hands this software would circumvent important security features and give the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession. Apple says that what the FBI wants is essentially a backdoor into Apple devices.
Apple says that the government claims that the software would be used on this one phone in this one case. However, there is no way to guarantee that the software would only be used in this case since once the bypass is known, it can be used anywhere. Apple appears to be hoping public outcry will help gain support to thwart the government’s efforts.