Tragedy as farce

The Apple saga continues as reported today over at BBC where a former judge turned lawyer is planning to file paperwork on behalf of the San Bernadino victims against Apple. FBI Director James Comey has also said in a statement this was about “the victims and justice”.

“We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s pass code without the phone essentially self-destruction and without it taking a decade to guess correctly,” said the FBI in its statement.

“That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master-key loose on the land.

“Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists. Maybe it doesn’t. But we can’t look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don’t follow this lead.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook has continued to not co-operate with authorities citing the dangerous precedent it would set and saying an entire new operating system would need to be created.

Yet John McAfee, creator of the anti-virus software suite, has offered to unlock the phone for the FBI for free.

Security expert Graham Cluley told the BBC he was sceptical of Mr McAfee’s claims.

“The FBI isn’t interested anyway, they want to set a precedent that there shouldn’t be locks they can’t break,” he added.

On and on…

This situation continues to become more of a farce the longer it goes on. As we wrote here last week, the FBI seeking a court order to force a private company to break into its own software would set a dangerous precedent, which Cluley notes correctly this is exactly what the FBI wants.

Even in their statement, the FBI justifies its reason based on emotions and expediency rather than the rule of law. Sure, they are seeking a court order, yet they have no idea what is on the phone. So rather than spend years, time and money (of their $8 billion budget) they would rather take the shortcut and set a dangerous precedent which undermines consumer confidence and privacy rights for the rest of us.

In short, this whole thing is starting to smell a bit rotten as though the FBI wants to achieve something else outside of “justice”. Not sure what it is (although I think Cluley nails it), could be nothing, but let us make a big deal out of it anyway.



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