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Why Apple is right to fight FBI over iPhone access

Rob Enderle | Feb. 22, 2016
Columnist Rob Enderle is not an Apple fan, however, he backs Tim Cook’s efforts to prevent the FBI from creating a security key that could access all iPhones. Here’s why such a key could potentially do billions of dollars of damage.

Value

We know the owner of the phone in question and his wife destroyed their personal phones, yet left the iPhone untouched suggesting there is nothing of value on it. The attempt to break into this phone has been well-publicized so anyone who might have been contacted by it is likely long gone by now and any information tied to another terrorist so out of date to be virtually worthless. So, to net this out, the probability that there is something of value on the phone is remote, and the probability that anything that had value has now lost its value is almost certain. At best, the value of the data on the phone is negligible.

Essentially, the FBI wants Apple to create a key with a potential to do billions of dollars of damage to get access to information that likely won’t have any value at all. This seems like the opposite of a prudent decision and beyond negligent for an organization missioned to keep people safe.  

It would seem then that this entire effort is likely a Red Herring. The FBI wants Apple to create the method and once created they can then use this method to gain access to iPhones for any reason. Ironically, once in place this method will likely make it impossible for any iPhone to get government use approval.  

The definition of ‘wackadoodle’

Clearly if anyone can bypass iPhone security it is Apple. But it isn’t in our best interest, nor the best interest of the government, which uses a lot of iPhones to make this happen. Because once iPhone security is bypassed, we are all exposed. I’ve seen arguments suggesting that this method already exists and that the FBI already has access to the phones and that this is all a smokescreen to get terrorists to use iPhones. However, terrorists in general don’t have a ton of money and tend to buy far cheaper devices. Of course, the attempts to break the iPhone should drive them away from the platform regardless.  

So, in the end, I see this as a government effort to fix a relatively small problem by creating a massive international exposure and putting Apple’s revenue at risk. That’s my definition for “wackadoodle.”

 

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