Apple CEO Tim Cook’s open letter defying a court order to hack into an iPhone— and asking for an open discussion about data privacy — has dramatized and widened the debate over encryption as never before.
In a pointed “message to our customers,” Cook said the government’s request to circumvent a security protection mechanism on an iPhone could “undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers.” The CEO’s letter set off a firestorm of commentary and reporting as soon as it went online early this morning.
“The court is ordering Apple to create a backdoor into an iPhone’s operating system, citing a law adopted in 1789,” said Greg Nojeim, director of the Freedom, Security and Technology Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology in a statement. “If the order stands, the defective operating system (iOS) could be installed over any existing version of iOS, enabling law enforcement officials to guess the password on a cell phone. If the order stands, Apple and other technology companies could be ordered to build backdoors — essentially defects — into other devices, rendering them insecure and vulnerable to attack by law enforcement and by others as well. We will fight against this result.”