Friday, February 19, 2016

Is the FBI willing to risk the privacy of all Apple consumers?

After a mass shooting and attempted bombing terrorist attack in San Bernardino leading to the death of 14 and 22 serious injuries, the FBI wants Apple to compromise the security of their customers for further investigation of this case. Apple has backed their security of customers with encryption and put the data of customers’ out of their own reach to create a brand that will not tamper with the safety and privacy that is promised to consumers. However, the FBI has asked Apple to create a backdoor to the iPhone so they can unlock and investigate one of the phones that was found during the San Bernardino investigation.
            With the new version of the iPhone operating system, which circumvents important security features, the FBI would have universal access to any iPhone or data they wanted. Although the FBI says once they get the information from this one iPhone they will delete the system, it is too dangerous for Apple to create a program that will risk the code getting out and other people having the ability to gain access to any phone’s data. Once the program is created it can be used as many times as desired on any device. The program that the FBI wants created would “remove security features and add new capabilities to the operating system, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by ‘brute force,’ trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.” The program would also have the ability to “build surveillance software to intercept messages, access health records or financial data, track location, or access the phone’s microphone or camera without the user’s knowledge.” The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, is siding with Apple. This is important because Google runs the operating system for Android. Although Apple and Android have the technological ability to be a major part in investigating a terrorist attack, it is too dangerous for the companies to make a program that will create a backdoor for devices and will risk the privacy of everybody who is not involved in the case. This program could be a major downfall and trust issue for these companies because if people do not feel safe putting any information on their devices, their will be a major setback in the technology world and major lawsuits waiting to happen. Although I believe the FBI has good intentions, I think technology used in ways that could harm others is not a good plan for the FBI, Apple, or Android.
            I think the article overlooked what other plan the FBI has to investigate this case further since Apple is refusing to make this program. Also, if Apple did decide to make this program, how they would find a way to make it secure enough that it could only be used this one time? I would like to know how much of our data is actually available in investigations such as the San Bernardino case.  


  1. Hi Dominique,
    I think this is a very interesting article that brings up many important points. Technology has become so advanced and innovative and people rely heavily on it. While it has helped the world immensely, it can also be very dangerous if it gets into the wrong hands. There is so much information and data on the internet now that people can look up anything they want and learn a great deal about it without even having to leave their house. In this case of the attacks in San Bernardino, technology was used against the people leading to tragedy. I think it is very risky for Apple to create a backdoor to the iPhone. People are crazy and unpredictable so I think that could cause major problems for them to make a backdoor. I also would like to learn how Apple would find a way to make it secure enough that it could only be used this one time. Also, if they can find a way to make it assessable to the FBI and it is successful, would they then use it in the future for new situations that need investigating? There are many pros and cons to creating a backdoor to the iPhone but if used in the right situations it could help the FBI immensely. On the other hand, if it is abused and used in the wrong situations, it could be very dangerous to the world. Is the risk worth the reward?

  2. I too am very interested in the topic that Domique has chosen to write about. With all the terror attacks happening around the world the FBI has been trying to figure out ways to fight it and technology has played a huge role in it. After the last attack in San Bernardino the FBI is asking Apple to create a program that allows them to compromise the security of people they are interest in. There are many pros and cons to this if Apple decides to move forward with it. I see where the FBI is coming from, where they feel they should have full access to a device that belongs to an individual that can potentially be a threat to our country. In the end all they want to do is protect us and are willing to do whatever it takes to fight. this. Although the Apple can play a major role in the investigations of terror attacks they have their reputation to worry about as well. The program can be a bit sketchy and risky because they feel with the number of hackers that will be following this can easily gain access to anyone who is not involved int the case. They would be sacrificing the privacy of their consumers who are completely innocent and for that reason people may feel reluctant to buy devices from them. Therefore I believe that they should hold off on the plan until they know for sure that no one else can get through this "backdoor" program. This could be very dangerous for the united states and something that needs to be seriously thought about before making any decisions.

  3. I agree with many of the points that Dominique made in her blog and also many of the points that Rich and Kristi made in their comments. After hearing about the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, I was not at all surprised to hear that the FBI wants Apple to create a backdoor to the iPhone so that they can unlock and investigate one of the phones found during the investigation. I am not surprised because in the past, presidents have been known to "spy" on peoples' phone conversations to search for potential terrorists. Apple ultimately denied the FBI's request to open this backdoor in regards to the privacy of their users and customers. This backdoor program that the FBI wanted created would remove many security features of Apple's operating system. If the code to this program got out, any hacker would have access to any iPhones's data. Americans reacted strongly to the news that President Bush's administration was listening in on phone conversations many years ago. Imagine if it came out that both the FBI and, if the code got out, many hackers had access to all of their phone data? Although this type of backdoor program could help the FBI obtain information about terrorists and potential terrorist attacks, it is simply unethical. Apple and the FBI need to come up with some other solution that both adheres to citizens' privacy, while also helping with any terrorism situations that arise.


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