Thursday, February 25, 2016

Obvious gov response to Apple claim "you can't force us to write code"

Apple has appealed to the government that they can't be forced to write vulnerable code for their phones.  If you check my other posts, I think you'll see I side with Apple on this.  Privacy and security concerns aside, the financial impacts for Apple would be disastrous.

Even if Apple wins this challenge on the grounds that the government can't force it to write code becuase it would be "unreasonably burdensome" it leaves important legal doors open to the FBI for future requests.

The government could conceivably create their own iPhone backdoor. What prevents them from loading it is the secret signing key that Apple currently has in its possession.  If the FBI used experts to write it's own backdoor, it might later sue Apple for access to its private key and/or force it to sign the software.  This would be even more devastating than for users than the original request and breaks the security update model for all.  This is doubly so if the updates are signed under sealed court orders (e.g. in secret, such as with an NSL).

While I applaud Apple for fighting back using all possible legal challenges, I hope this particular legal theory isn't the only one that holds the government back.  It will be a temporary setback to be sure, but expect follow on action from the FBI in that case. 

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