Last night, A CALIFORNIA COURT ordered Apple to assist the FBI in hacking an iPhone. It’s an unprecedented request, one with potentially huge repercussions for the privacy and security of every Apple customer. This morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook posted an impassioned defense of encryption, and signaled the legal battles to come.
The iPhone at hand belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters, the couple who took 14 lives in an attack last December. But the open letter to Apple customers posted on Apple’s website early Wednesday morning is significant in that it doesn’t just respond to this court order and incident, specifically, but to the importance of encryption at large.
The FBI wants Apple to implement a backdoor for law enforcement to use in order to access sensitive data on iPhones without risking the data being automatically deleted, which is what happens when a passcode is entered incorrectly more than 10 times if that option is enabled. The FBI argues that it can compel Apple to help them unlock the phone under the All Writs Act of 1789. Tim Cook in a letter claims that making a backdoor like this will open their customers’ devices to hackers.
The iPhone now implements AES 256 encryption on all devices by default. For those who want a starter on how encryption works, this is a good starter video.