Apple Inc Versus FBI

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Apple Inc Versus FBI

The conflict between the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Apple Inc has brought about numerous questions related to consumer security and privacy. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook noted that creation of a software that would enable the FBI to access information contained in Syed Farook’s mobile phone would create new risks and challenges to security and privacy of consumers using Apple products. Apple has gained support from a number of quarters with some suggesting that writing a new code with the aim of opening Farook’s mobile would exacerbate similar requests to messaging applications to develop new tools and software to change encryption schemes. On the other hand, supporters of the government and FBI claim that all technology companies have a duty to assist the government in investigations, especially in issues that pertain to national security (Axelrod, Bayuk, and Schutzer 33).

In support of Apple Inc critics claim that ordering the company to develop, new software extends beyond what is acceptable in terms of government demands to companies, which could be a catalyst for violation of privacy and security of the public and companies in the United States. Tim Cook argues that the software suggested by the FBI is currently non-existent and may pose a danger to security and information privacy in the near future. The development of a backdoor for the iPhone could pose a risk to the security and privacy of consumers, which prompted management to respond negatively to the government requests for assistance.

An order issued by a magistrate in California simply tasked Apple Inc with disabling some features in the iPhone as opposed to bypassing encryption standards. In addition between 2015 and 2016, Apple was issued with an estimated 11 orders under All Writs Act 1789 seeking to compel the entity to utilize its existing capabilities in the extraction of information such as contacts, call records and visual information from iPhones operating on iOS 7 and older versions of the operating system. Such information would assist federal agencies in criminal investigations. Apple notes that the mobile phone utilizes extensive encryption, which it is unable to bypass with its existing capabilities.

Apple was accurate and acting within its rights to oppose the order as creation of a backdoor posed a privacy and security risk to its clients. The FBI should have sought assistance from third parties to access contents from the mobile as such would ensure minimal exposure of the public and more specifically Apple Inc customers to privacy and security risks. In addition, the FBI noted that it had four options that it could utilize to access data as at February 19th 2016. Thus, it is evident that the need to develop a new software was not necessary as such an action would jeopardize the safety of a significant number of people (Solove 29).

However, it is critical to note that the issue also relates to national security with the information contained in the suspect’s mobile phone being critical towards aiding investigations and in possible apprehension of additional suspects. The failure by Apple Inc to provide access posed also a threat to national security as information contained in the mobile phone of one of the shooters could have enabled efficient investigations and possible identification of new suspects. Furthermore, the issue also presents challenges as to the use of the All Writs Act in enabling government agencies to access records from companies to aid criminal investigations. Moreover, it would be reasonably prudent for the FBI to explore alternatives, which would not place undue risk top the security and privacy of a significant number of consumers in the United States around the world in coercion of companies to develop applications that would bypass encryption standards and coding.

 

Works Cited

Axelrod, C W, Jennifer L. Bayuk, and Daniel Schutzer. Enterprise Information Security and Privacy. Boston: Artech House, 2009. Print.

Solove, Daniel J. Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff between Privacy and Security. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2014. Print.

 

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