You may recall the San Bernardino shooting over a year ago, when the FBI asked Apple to “crack” the encryption on one of their phones to access data for their case. Apple refused, and the FBI was forced to use a third-party to access the information. It’s speculated that they spent over a million dollars to access that information.
Now the FBI is claiming that it couldn’t retrieve data from over 7,000 phones (not just Apple’s iPhones) over the past year, even if they obtained a warrant, due to the encryption on these phones. Current FBI Director Christopher Wray has described it as a “huge, huge problem.”
The Debate Continues
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies want as much access to information as possible – and it’s pretty obvious why. They are in charge of keeping the public safe, so if they could be better prepared to prevent future crimes and/or stop current crimes, they should be. It’s very easy to understand their point.
However, it’s also very easy to understand why tech companies don’t want to comply. A user’s privacy is their main concern, and if you give the FBI (and others) a “backdoor” into phone software, it could quickly become a big problem.
Privacy v Security
It’s pretty invasive to give that kind of power to governing bodies, but it could also compromise the security of devices in general. It’s possible that the “backdoor” could be replicated by a hacker, which would be the opposite of the goal.
There’s also the question of privacy in general, and giving the government a spying tool of this magnitude would definitely be a huge step into risky territory. If you haven’t seen Snowden I recommend it. Even if you disagree with him and what he did, the movie is very interesting and insightful.
Currently we’re at a bit of a stalemate. Silicon Valley giants like Google and Apple are trying to protect the integrity of their products and the privacy of their customers, while the FBI is trying to ensure the safety of American citizens.
I often have an opinion with these politically-charged articles, but in this case, I really don’t have one. It’s too easy to understand and agree with either side’s position.