According to people familiar with the matter, Apple is working on improving the encryption on its smartphones even further despite tremendous pressures from the Department of Justice to create an encryption backdoor for authorities.
In a recent interview, the company’s CEO Tim Cook didn’t seem willing to back off. He explained that an intentional weakness in the encryption would put millions of innocent users at risk, and likened the backdoor with cancer. He also said that the Apple-FBI standoff was not about national security, but about public safety.
Recent reports show that Apple developers are already revamping the current encryption system to prevent any state-funded hacker from breaking into an iPhone no matter how legit that intrusion may be.
Plus, even if the DOJ wins the recent legal battle started when Apple declined to create a backdoor in one of San Bernardino shooters’ smartphone at FBI’s request, the Justice Department would have to engage in a new round of court fights whenever the FBI needs access to other offenders’ iPhones.
Law experts believe that the only solution to break the deadlock would be a congressional intervention. Current government surveillance laws only demand from mobile operators to grant data access to federal investigators. But Silicon Valley companies such as Apple and Google cannot be forced to hand over user data under the said laws.
Plus, both tech giants have so far strongly resisted any attempt to compromise their users’ privacy both in court and public. So, expect Apple to further beef up security, as it has been doing for years, with new updates and security patches.
For Apple, stakes are high since its business model is based on a promise to secure customer privacy. And so far, the company hasn’t let us down.
In a recent interview, Cook said that his company has no other information on the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone. He added that any additional bits of information on it could be extracted only thorough a “piece of software that we view as sort of the software equivalent of cancer.”
The device is currently in federal investigators’ custody, but the agency cannot access it because of a security measure set in place by Apple on all iPhones that will permanently erase all data after ten incorrect passwords. And the only way to bypass the measure would be for the tech company to write a secondary OS.
Cook noted that nowadays people may have more personal info on their smartphones than they have in their homes, so a workaround is a definite no-no.
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