Bloomberg: The feds' clash with Tim Cook goes back to iOS 8, not the San Bernardino terror attack

Bloomberg: The feds' clash with Tim Cook goes back to iOS 8, not the San Bernardino terror attack
Apple is starting off a jam-packed week today. First in line is today's event where it will be eventually returning to the roots with a smaller iPhone that aims to convince those millions still rocking an iPhone 5 or 5S to switch, as well as a smaller version of the iPad Pro. This minimalistic event, which begins at 10am Pacific, will be followed by another big happening tomorrow - namely the start of the court battle with the FBI over unlocking the San Bernardino killer's infamous iPhone 5c.

While the iPhone SE and the iPad Air 3 event, or whatever they are named, will likely follow a familiar schedule, the court hearing is shaping up to be one of the grandest battles of our times. We exaggerate not, as it will determine how the chips will fall in the delicate balance between privacy concerns in the all-out surveillance age, and the authorities' demands for greater security, while the world's richest company, Apple, is right smack in the middle of it.

All of this sounds as intriguing as it gets, but the story is deeper than what we thought. A Bloomberg investigation unearthed over the weekend that the sudden eruption of hostilities between Apple and the FBI is not all that sudden. The feds, it seems, were flabbergasted when Apple gave them iOS 8 for preview, and found out that they can't access calls, messages, notes, photos and other personal info with relatively little effort, as they used to. If you remember, tucked in the iOS 8 announcement was a quick mention that Apple's system is now encrypted for anyone willing to pry, including Apple. Heck, we even included iMessage in our roundup of the most secure and user-friendly communication apps, and with a good reason.


The Fallout


Fast forward about a year and a half after the iOS 8 announcement, and Apple is firmly in the government crosshairs, but it wasn't always like that. Insider interviews disclosed to Bloomberg that initially the feds weren't as adamant to break Apple's encryption as they are now, and the company even collaborated on dissuading China from acquiring access to every phone maker's encryption data. Still, the feds were caught by surprise that tech companies went ahead and introduced encrypted communications without properly aligning this decision with them. Then the San Bernardino shooting came, and now the FBI thinks it has a great case to set a precedent and stem the rising encryption tide.

For years, Tim Cook has enjoyed a fine relationship with the White House, being invited to state dinners, sitting next to Michelle Obama during the State of the Union address, and so on. It seemed that the administration itself was not unanimous on the encryption issue, which apparently led Tim Cook to believe that he can give iPhone users what they want - a secured communication device. Apple started backing off of the whole government snooping thing last October, when it denied access to the phone of a New York drug dealer, setting a precedent, and continuing firm now during the whole San Bernardino terrorist conundrum

Meetings with the White House national security team, including the FBI chief and the Attorney General, failed to persuade Apple's CEO, as he argued that providing backdoors will set a bad example for countries like China that would demand the key to the house  as well, just as Apple and the government fought hard to avoid precisely this scenario beforehand. The feds weren't convinced, as we all know, which led us to where we are now, with Apple due in court tomorrow for the trial of a lifetime. Which side are you on?

source: Bloomberg

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6 Comments

1. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

I would definitely support Apple or any other Company not to give any access to the governments....

2. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

I'm not Apple fan, in fact I have tried to get family who use iPhones to switch to something else. On this issue, as much as it pains me to say, Apple has my full support.

5. Adreno

Posts: 755; Member since: Mar 12, 2016

Neither of both sides are 100% right or wrong. It's 50/50. If the FBI wins: Pros: Security bodies would be more able to stop TERRORISM and find EVIDENCES which will result in better JUSTICE done to victims of CRIME. Cons: It will set a bad precedent for Corporations - FORCED to WEAKEN the very security they spent years and investments to build in order to SECURE their business. HACKERS could use such a technique to BYPASS and VIOLATE the PRIVACY of people, hence BLACKMAIL those with sensitive data about their private life. In the order hand, if Apple wins: Pros: No such PRECEDENT will be set, hence tech companies would still be able to SECURE their businesses, and the privacy of people will not be VIOLATED. Cons: TERRORISTS will use the ENCRYPTION (meant to secure people's private life) to HIDE their PLOT and they will not FEAR about security forces ever getting EVIDENCE of their crime. Hence, they'll have GUTS to execute their CRIMINAL plan. I value my privacy, I value people's security too!

6. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

No, this is not true, there is a way for Apple to do it more than any other company due to the way they got it locked down so hackers can not reuse it, ok, this is how it is done 1:Apple updates the software 2:you hold the home key for 5min 3screen comes up asking for key 4fbi types in key given to them by Apple, 5 Apple as added this key to there server like the ones they use for software updates, this then unlocks the phone as needed Or some crap like that

3. TomTom4049

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 21, 2016

As another option, why doesn't the FBI just give Apple the phone, let them do their thing, and Apple give them the data they want instead of the FBI demanding carte blanche so they themselves can get into anybody's phone? I suppose the ole' Narus 6400 in room 641A on Folsum street and the NSA isn't helpful in this venue is it.

4. Hoggington

Posts: 356; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

That is the option they are asking Apple. You need to read up on it. It is still a scary and unprecedented thing to ask. I'm 100% on Apple's side here. If you have any doubt about this subject, I suggest you spend 18 min watching this. John Oliver explains it the best.. . https://youtu.be/zsjZ2r9Ygzw

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