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Apple v FBI encryption case in quotes - Bill Gates, Google, Edward Snowden

Tamlin Magee | March 29, 2016
As the FBI and Apple wage a battle in the courts, technology heavyweights are publicly coming out in favour of encryption

In a post titled 'We Could Not Look the Survivors in the Eye if We Did Not Follow this Lead' on the Lawfare blog Comey says the organisation wants "the chance to guess the terrorist's passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly... We don't want to break anyone's encryption or set a master key loose on the land.

"Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists. Maybe it doesn't. But we can't look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don't follow this lead."

And a court filing from the FBI accused Apple of refusing to grant access to the device as "based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy".

8. Apple vs FBI: Apple hits back

Apple vs FBI: Apple hits back
Image: Flickr/Roger Schultz

Apple's customer letter says "compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us."

And it warns a custom backdoor would be open to misuse: "Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key.

"The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers."

Weakening encryption would "only hurt the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. Criminals will still encrypt, using tools that are readily available to them."

9. Apple vs FBI: Apple says case is unprecedented

Apple vs FBI: Apple says case is unprecedented
Image: Flickr/Ptigarstheone

"We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack," Apple writes.  

In the questions and answers section of its customer letter, Apple refutes the FBI's claim that its reluctance is about marketing: "Nothing could be further from the truth. 

"We feel strongly that if we were to do what the government has asked of us, not only is it unlawful, but it puts the vast majority of good and law abiding citizens who rely on iPhone to protect their most personal and important data at risk."

Apple also says the information it could have had access to - on the iCloud services - was no longer accessible because the Apple ID password associated with the phone had been changed while the device was in FBI custody.

10. Apple vs FBI: Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Apple vs FBI: Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Image: Flickr/Maurizio Pesce


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