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The encryption quicksand into which Apple is sinking

Evan Schuman | March 2, 2016
As the encryption argument takes center stage in the ongoing Apple vs. the U.S. Government squabbles, a very important—and potentially destructive—change is taking place in security strategy.

That is the real problem. If Apple creates the perfect defense against itself, it can't comply with urgent requests from the government or it's customers.

Don't forget that in this specific case, the government wants to break into the iphone of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the killers in the San Bernardino, Calif. shooting rampage. And his phone was not owned by him. It was owned by the county agency he worked for, and the county government—the true owner of that phone—has consented to the phone being searched.

That means that there is no privacy issue in this immediate case, although it's a certainty that privacy will crop up in other cases.

Rasch points out that had the county's IT folk been using a mobile device management product on county phones, this entire issue would have been avoided as the county would have had the employee's password. The question then comes back to Apple—and other technology players—and how far they are willing to go to thwart government inquires (to protect customers) when such efforts will also block those customers if they get accidentally locked out of their phones.

It's akin to CIOs who want no one to be able to get into an enterprise network without proper credentials, unless they are lost, in which case they want their vendors to be able to override and get in.


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