F.B.I. considered taking Apple to court over encryption fears

By

RV-AM562_NESS_GR_20140117124953
Apple's muckin' with a G here, pal!
Photo: The Untouchables, Paramount Pictures

The F.B.I. and Department of Justice are so concerned about Apple’s pro-privacy iOS encryption that senior officials advocated taking Apple to court over the issue, according to a new report.

The clash with Cupertino was reportedly sparked by an investigation this summer — “involving guns and drugs” — in which a court order was obtained, demanding that Apple provide real time iMessages exchanged by iPhone-using suspects. Due to the stringent security measures featured on iOS 8, Apple responded that it could not comply due to the advanced encryption used by the company.

Thankfully, the decision was taken not to pursue legal action. However, the case once again demonstrates the opposition that exists within government to Apple’s stance on user privacy.

In a previous open letter, F.B.I. director James Comey argued that the top-notch security on devices like the iPhone have potential to aid terrorist groups like ISIS.

Tim Cook, meanwhile, has argued that Apple is taking a moral stance by not mining user data. In an interview with the Telegraph newspaper in the U.K., Cook commented that:

“None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information. This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn’t give it up. We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don’t understand the details.”

Apple has also put its name to an open letter to President Obama asking him to reject anti-encryption proposals.

The decision not to take Apple to court over its pro-encryption stance means this case will continue to rumble on in the background. It’s certainly far from over, however.

Source: New York Times