Apple: FBI iPhone order is like “Cancer,” this is “About the future”

Apple iPhone FBI cancer

“It is, in our view, the software equivalent of cancer.”

Credit: Apple, Inc.

Frustrated Apple CEO repeats the C-word over FBI iPhone order

Tim Cook hits back at FBI tasking Apple to help it unlock iPhone used by San Bernadino suspect, using a colorful—if repetitive—metaphor. And now, other tech companies are rushing to jump on Cook’s PR coattails.

However, Apple’s on-message message still doesn’t make sense, according to experts. Cook claims writing a custom iOS to help unlock one iPhone would allow the FBI to unlock any iDevice.

But wait, how can that be right? If there was no per-device DFU verification, jailbreaking wouldn’t be so hard, no would it?

Would Tim be so cynical as to jump on this bandwagon for pure PR purposes? Surely not.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers examine Cook’s motives. Not to mention: How to teach kids about computers...

curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. [Developing story: Updated 10:47 am PT with more comment]


What’s the craic? Jay Donovan and Jon Russell report Tim saying A Backdoor Into The iPhone Would Be The ‘Software Equivalent Of Cancer’:

Apple CEO Tim Cook has mounted the fiercest argument. ... In the wake of FBI Director James Comey denying that the ultimate goal is a backdoor...he has now made the iPhone maker’s stance...crystal clear.

Cook described his fear that enabling backdoor access...would set a dangerous precedent for the future. ... Cook said he has received thousands of email messages in support.

The debate is currently playing out in public. ... He believes that any ruling...should come from Congress. ... he intends to talk to President Obama [and] to push the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.

While there are a myriad of complexities...if Apple were forced to comply, it would... damage the equity of its brand. ... And that could affect the value proposition [and] profits.


I’m confused: Is this about the past, the present, or the future? A fantastically on-message Tim Cook clarifies, while talking to David Muir:

Apple has cooperated with the FBI fully in this case. [But] this case is about the future. ... The only way to get information [from the phone] would be to write...the software equivalent of cancer.

This is about the future. ... This is our country. ... It’s about freedom of expression.

This is not about one phone. This is about the future.

It is about the future. ... The only way [is] the software equivalent of cancer.

This is about the future. ... It is, in our view, the software equivalent of cancer.


It’s about the future, then. Matt Apuzzo and Katie Benner tag-team with Apple Is Said to Be Trying to Make It Harder to Hack iPhones:

Apple engineers have begun developing new security measures [to counter] methods similar to those now at the center of [the] court fight...according to people close to the company and security experts. ... [It] will create a significant technical challenge for law enforcement.

For Apple, security is also a global marketing strategy. [It will] reassure investors and customers.

A company spokeswoman declined to comment on...“rumors and speculation.” ... Security experts...say it is technically possible.


What a tangled web we weave. John Gruber steps into the debate—The Next Step:

The way the iPhone works today...you can restore the operating system without entering the device passcode. ... What the FBI wants Apple to do is create...a new version of iOS [which] will allow them to easily brute-force.

I think what Apple is leaking here is that they’re going to change this...so that you can’t install a new version of iOS...without entering the device’s passcode.


Still confused? Dan Guido is, too—as I noted last week:

Apple has allegedly cooperated...in the past by using a custom firmware image. ... To limit the risk of abuse, Apple can lock the customized version...to only work on the specific recovered iPhone.

And Finally...

How to teach kids about computers
[and what to do if you have a teenage crush on Al Gore]


Update: The enemy of my enemy is my friend, they say. Deepa Seetharaman and Jack Nicas speak to special sources-Tech Companies to Unite in Support of Apple:

Several tech companies, including...Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp., plan to file a joint motion supporting Apple. [And] at least one other tech company plans to be included in a joint amicus brief.

The joint filing is set to unite much of Silicon Valley...in its fight against the U.S. that has polarized much of the nation. ... Apple called the order “unprecedented” with “no support of the law.”


Update: Any more? Yes, John Paczkowski notes more:

Amazon, Box, Internet Association. Slack mulling. ... Yahoo will also file amicus brief.


You have been reading IT Blogwatch by , who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk.
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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