Why Apple should not help the FBI

Originally posted onto Tastemakercollectivemedia.com 2/20/16


There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that what happened on December 2 in San Bernardino, California is an absolute travesty that should not have happened. If there was anything that could have possibly be done to prevent it, it surely would have been done or at least attempted. The argument that is at stake is while prevention is an utmost priority, are we to sacrifice privacy for those not involved?

The Masterkey

For those of us who follow the news, Apple Vs the FBI is over whether or not they should comply with the order to create software that will break through the security of a locked phone is the current headline on any paper and broadcast. What is looks like on the surface is that the only way to help America and save lives is to have Apple go ahead and make that new security software that negates their current security software. “It’s just for this one time. Trust us. Just this once.”

If a “Masterkey” is created, a plug in that when installed onto any iPhone will circumvent the security features, who is to say that this software won’t get into the hands of people outside of the Gov’t?
Let’s play devil’s advocate for the US Gov’t, and say that they really are on the up-and-up on this with no intention on coming back to Apple in the future with another life or death situation to unlock a device. Lets say that this really is a one time deal.  The attention then goes to the people out there with malicious intent who could get their hands on the anti-security software that Apple is being pushed to develop. The “bad” people out there (Identity thieves, information snatchers and privacy violators) all can now very easily get there sullied your hidden and supposedly once private secrets.

You cannot “Un-Create” something

You can’t take something back once it’s out there. Even for those of us who say something stupid to someone, once those thoughts leave our lips in coherent sentences, you can’t take them back. Even if your target didn’t hear them, somebody did, and that single somebody is all it takes to make a huge mess of things. Same thing goes for this Masterkey software, but even more so. You can’t delete the information that will come from this project if Apple decides to go through with it, and no matter how hard they can try to scrub it off the face of the earth after its use for the Gov’t, it will still be found by wrong-doers and be used as a malicious tool for evil intent. You cannot un-create the Masterkey.
Although this is a bad situation, is it worth the risk?
This is a horrible situation to be sure, but it truly is between a rock and a hard place here. Do we create this Masterkey and open up the phone owned by Farook (that’s the name of the owner of the iPhone in question) which will lead to the once all-safe iPhone being moving targets for any and every hacker out there, or should Apple remain a virtual Switzerland and turn down the order to create and develop this new software. As of yet, there is no answer on what the State is going to force Apple to do via lawsuit, but there is a reply to the request from current Apple CEO Tim Cooke to Apple customers, sent out February 16:

“We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the 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.”

The thought process behind the Gov’t request makes solid sense. Why would we not want to get into this phone without risk of having all of its data erased (for those who don’t have iPhones, if you attempt the passcode incorrectly, the device will self-wipe its memory as a security measure)?
The trade off, in this writer’s opinion, is not worth the risk. Quite honestly, there is a chance, possibly small, that there is not much of actual value to the FBI on the device. If that is the case, then bringing something so utterly dangerous as the Masterkey was done in vain and with little victory, and has put the millions upon millions of iPhone users at risk for nothing.

A rock and a hard place

Don’t get me wrong. I want nothing more than to have the people responsible for any and all attacks caught and brought to justice for what they have done and have been doing against all these innocent people that have been attacked and terrorized. Truly I do, but the situation that has been created is not as cut and dry as people may think. The amount of risk that opens up from the development of the Masterkey is just too dangerous to validate its existence.
In short, Apple complying with the orders of the Gov’t is a bad idea, and simply not worth the risk.


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