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Apple engineers that work on iOS might decide to quit if forced to write Govt.OS

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Apple engineers that work on iOS might decide to quit if forced to write Govt.OS
According to the New York Times, Apple engineers have been discussing their options with each other in case Apple loses a court hearing scheduled for next Tuesday. At the hearing, DOJ attorneys will tell the judge why Apple needs to comply with a court order requiring it to unlock the Apple iPhone 5c that was used by deceased terrorist Syed Farook, and turn over information found inside the handset. Apple will explain why it cannot comply with the order.

Technically, Apple has no way to get what the government seeks from them, unless it develops a unique operating system (dubbed Govt.OS) that opens the phone in question. Apple's fear is that by developing code for something that does not currently exist, the code will get into the wrong hands, thus threatening the security of everyone in the world who has personal information stored on their iPhone.

If the court rules against Apple, some engineers who are involved in writing iOS code are talking about refusing to do the work needed to build the so-called Govt.OS. Other engineers who work on iOS say that they will simply quit. Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to customers last month, pointing out some of the hypocrisy behind the government's request. "The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe," said Cook.

According to a letter written by Apple in February, it will take a team of six to ten engineers as long as one month to build Govt.OS. But if these employees decide to make things difficult for the government, it could take much longer to complete the task. And while engineers are discussing the matter now, should the judge rule in favor of the government, Apple will still have a number of appeals that could take months to exhaust.

At the end of the day, there is a choice. If they don't want to turn over Govt.OS to the DOJ, all of the engineers involved in iOS code writing could decide to quit. That is one of the options that they are said to be considering. If that were to happen, Apple would probably not have to unlock the phone, according to Joseph DeMarco, a former federal prosecutor. But DeMarco says that if it comes down to Apple's engineers keeping their jobs but deciding just not to write the code, the court would probably find Apple in contempt. Another possibility is that Apple could be fined every day until it complies with the court.

"If — and this is a big if — every engineer at Apple who could write the code quit and, also a big if, Apple could demonstrate that this happened to the court’s satisfaction, then Apple could not comply and would not have to. It would be like asking my lawn guy to write the code."-Joseph DeMarco, former federal prosecutor

source: NYTimes

21 Comments
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posted on 18 Mar 2016, 00:32 4

1. promise7 (Posts: 877; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)


Sucks that those "six to ten engineers " would have to leave their jobs, but they would no doubt quickly be hired by many other high profile companies without hesitation.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 01:11 5

6. tyrionTheWise (unregistered)


Their jobs is not the issue. The thing is that who will write the code if they left. Debugging someone else's work is not an easy task.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 07:46

16. lyndon420 (Posts: 4395; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


If those employees quit they may never see their families again, and their bodies will never be recovered. You see...the government doesn't like it when someone defies them - just ask Reagan or Kennedy...oh wait...never mind. But seriously those employees (and their families) should really think about disappearing fast if they decide to quit.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 17:42

22. Dingy_cellar_dweller (Posts: 254; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


Yea they have a job waiting at the FBI

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 00:44 8

2. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1569; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


I'm on Apple's side on this one.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:57

14. S-R-K (banned) (Posts: 304; Member since: 15 Mar 2016)


Never ever will. Rotten Apple.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 00:56

4. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 2500; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


"Apple could be fined every day until it complies with the court" How long do you think it would take for Apple to run out of money?

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 03:14

10. benoita74 (Posts: 20; Member since: 20 Dec 2015)


Haha a few million years probably^^

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 03:33 2

11. Jimrod (Posts: 1376; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)


I still don't see how a government can FORCE a company to make something that doesn't exist?

Maybe Tim Cook should say - "Sure, we'll do it as a contract for the US Government, our price? One trillion dollars. We can't let the terrorists win now can we Mr FBI? Money should be no object!"

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 01:07

5. bdgcitizen (banned) (Posts: 22; Member since: 01 Jul 2014)


I dont care...

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 01:35 4

7. Hoggington (Posts: 285; Member since: 23 Feb 2016)


If anyone is even remotely on the fence about who to support on this issue, you should check out John Oliver's take on it. This is a HUGE deal, for everyone. All over the world. I'm 110% with Apple on this one.

https://youtu.be/zsjZ2r9Ygzw

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 01:41

8. sanjanaviji (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Mar 2016)


Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your valuable information. We strive to provide our candidates with excellent care and we take your comments to heart.As always, we appreciate your confidence and trust in us..

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 01:46

9. GreenMan (Posts: 1246; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


I'm also with Apple on this one... And really wish that win the case...
For those of you enjoying seeing Apple in a hole, Let me enlighten you; It's not just about Apple. it's about the privacy of millions of people... If this gOS comes into being, the government would have a back door to any iPhone in the world...
And those millions of individuals then just might as well forget about their privacy, and their rights... They're a slave to the government, in a democracy, might I remind you...
An American Company would be in shambles then, and there will probably be much more lawsuits filled against Apple the moment it handover the gOS to Washington...
I'm not even an American, yet I have deep sympathies For Apple...
Tell me, HOW PROUD YOU ARE...?

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 04:42

12. RoboticEngi (Posts: 717; Member since: 03 Dec 2014)


This just becomes more and more pathetic......Im looking forward to see Tim showing up on TV crying, trying to save mankind from big bad government.....God it already makes me sick.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 05:26

13. Trakker (Posts: 283; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)


From all I've read Apple is a hateful company to work for with little opportunity for advancement and brutal working targets, so personally it would take a lot less than morality issues for me to quit that job.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 07:08

15. Charlie2k (Posts: 43; Member since: 11 Jan 2016)


I'm NOT with Apple on this one.

Go back 10 years..
If the police needed evidence from your home (letters, pictures, financial information, diary and so on) they could just enter your house without your permission.. Nobody said a thing and didn't complain that the police could do this.

Today..
The only difference from the above situation is that now we have the same information stored in our phones. And now people cry s**tloads....

The only logical reason for this I would supose is that Apple is trying to get good PR out of this and that journalists and some people is buying this propaganda.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 07:53

18. lyndon420 (Posts: 4395; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


Yeah you're right. If you're comfortable with the government snooping through your underwear drawer while you sleep, then something like this shouldn't be an issue either.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 08:19 2

19. schultzter (Posts: 11; Member since: 20 Oct 2015)


Holy carp! Is this the first you've heard of the issue or are you just trolling?!

But ok, let's say you're new to this and going with your 10-years ago analogy. (Even if you're trolling I'm going to post this here to get it off my chest)

Issue 1: Let's say the FBI got a warrant to search your house (which they have in this case too) but to make sure you didn't go back and move stuff around they asked a locksmith to change the locks. Now they want to go back and check again but realize they don't have the key for the new lock!!!

This is a PR disaster they want everyone to forget about ASAP! So they play the big bad terrorist card.

Issue 2: Now they're asking the lock manufacturer to make them a master key that opens every lock of every door everywhere. And then to just trust them with the key, that they'll only use it on your house they have a search warrant for, they won't use for the hundreds of other places they'd really like to search but haven't been able to, and they absolutely definitely won't let anyone else have the master key or make a copy of it.

This is a privacy and security issue. This is what concerns us dull muggles.

And of course if you're the lock manufacturer (or Apple) then every one of your competitor's next advertising campaign is going to be "sure an iPhone looks cool, but only if you want to share your credit card and nude selfies with every government and criminal in the world."

Which is another PR disaster, so Apple plays the big bad government card.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 08:19

20. gersont1000 (Posts: 336; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


It's not about the government not having the ability to get into the phone like a house. It's about them basically asking Apple (the maker of the lock to the house) to engineer a new lock and door so the government can try to force themselves in somehow. Apple doesn't have a copy of the keys, they can only change the door and lock. Additionally, this door and lock coud be used to open any other home with a door and lock from the same company, whether you're a terrorist or any common person, including doors installed in government installations or politicians' homes.

posted on 18 Mar 2016, 10:30

21. bubblechaos (Posts: 114; Member since: 04 May 2015)


I would say, give the phone to apple, run the program, Extract the information, send it to the gov't/FBI and done.

posted on 20 Mar 2016, 17:41

23. atlvideoguy (Posts: 63; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)


The FBI is trying to use this as a precedence to force not just Apple, but Google, Samsung, and Microsoft to make weaker security on all smartphones. We all see what happens when the Gov't (NSA) gets their way in the name of national security, they go too far, Eric Snowden showed us that.

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