Apple’s chief executive officer has promised to appeal a federal court ruling demanding his company help the FBI get around built-in security features on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters.
But this case, insist US security and privacy experts, is not just about allowing investigators to find out more information from one Apple device seized from a slain terror suspect. Instead, they say, the outcome could affect anyone who uses American tech products because it could open the door for the government to insist on new mechanisms for weakening security on all consumer devices.
“While it seems like this case is only about one iPhone, it’s become the flash point in the fight over encryption and the security of the Internet,” says Kevin Bankston, the director of New America’s Open Technology Institute. “They are asking a company to build new tools to bypass the security of its own product. That’s a problem that would go far beyond Apple. It’s not even a slippery slope – it’s a sharp cliff.”
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If a US court can indeed compel Apple to do this, Mr. Bankston continued, “It can likely legally compel any other software providers to do the same thing.”