Alternate Titles: Apple Now Looking To Close The Backdoor The FBI Discovered
from the real-talk dept
Yesterday the NY Times put out a story claiming that Apple Is Said to Be Working on an iPhone Even It Can’t Hack, with the underlying thrust being that this is a response to the big DOJ case against it, in which the court has ordered Apple to undermine key security features, which would then enable the FBI to brute force the (almost certainly weak) passcode used by Syed Farook on his work iPhone. But, here’s the thing: prior to that order and its details coming to light, many people were under the impression that the existing iPhones were ones that it “couldn’t hack.” After all, it was offering full disk encryption tied to the device where it didn’t hold the key.
And thus, a key reality of this debate is that Apple already had a bit of a backdoor in its devices: it could update the code on the device, without it wiping the key, and that updated operating system could, theoretically, remove key security protections that made the iPhone’s security workable. It’s just that the FBI found the backdoor.
So, really, it appears that what Apple is doing is what a few of us asked about as the details became clear: why can’t Apple build a phone that works the way many people assumed it worked prior to this court order: and not allow for such a software update to work without first being approved by the end user.
So, really, this is just Apple closing the backdoor that the FBI revealed. Nice work, FBI, for disclosing this vulnerability.
Of course, as this so-called “arms race” continues, the surveillance state apologists are coming out of the woodwork to insist that the law must stop what the technology allows:
?We are in for an arms race unless and until Congress decides to clarify who has what obligations in situations like this,? said Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Or, Congress can leave things as they are, and Apple and others can continue to better protect the security of all of us. That seems like a good idea.