Should Apple Create a Backdoor for iPhone

Apple LogoBasically FBI is requesting Apple to build a new version of the iPhone iOS (or a special tool) which will bypass several security features on iOS (including bypassing the existing screen-lock). FBI will then install this special version of iOS on the iPhone to bypass the security lock screen.

Now, the question is: Should Apple create a backdoor to help FBI and other government agencies to unlock iPhone and retrieve the data? What do you think?

US department of justice has issued an order to Apple to help FBI unlock the iPhone used by the shooter in the San Bernardino case. But, Apple is fighting that request.

Apple has published a message to all their customer, and sent a memo to all their employees explaining why they are objecting government’s order.

The following are few general points on this topic:

  • Probably Apple should work with FBI and help them to unlock only this particular iPhone used by the shooter. This should be done one-time just for this case.
  • The problem with the above approach is, if you help FBI one time, they’ll keep sending court order in the future to Apple to help them on several other investigations. May be Apple can’t say no at that time, as it has already done it once.
  • If Apple creates a backdoor just for FBI, and somehow if it falls into the wrong hands (hackers, etc.), everybody’s data and privacy is in jeopardy.
  • If Apple helps US government, probably other countries will also request Apple to help them with their investigation.
  • Probably Apple shouldn’t create any special iOS with any kind of backdoor. This violates all the security protocols and policies. What is the point of having a strong encryption to lock the data, when there is a master key to bypass the security and get to the data directly?
  • From pure IT security philosophy point of view, putting a backdoor can be morally wrong.
  • Looking at from the point of view of family members of the victims in this particular case, probably Apple should fully cooperate with FBI and help them out in this case. This is morally the right thing to do.
  • Several CEOs of big corporation are supporting Apple in this case; including Facebook’s and Google’s CEO.
  • So far, in general, it was assumed that FBI or NSA can pretty much get to the data once they get hold of the physical device. This used to be case at least on a typical laptop or desktop few years back. But even with NSA & FBI’s big budget, it is probably surprising for many to see how they are behind all the security advancement that has happened in the last few years.
  • On the other hand, Donald Trump is calling for a boycott of Apple until they cooperate with FBI on this case. He also mentioned that he has switched from iPhone to Samsung until Apple helps FBI.

Considering all the above points, where do you stand on this? Do you think Apple should create a backdoor for iPhone?


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