Encryption is meant to be a security measure, but the Federal Bureau of Investigations disagrees. In a recent battle between Apple Inc and the FBI over the tech company’s plans to encrypt data to protect its network from attack, the FBI’s policy makes these efforts impossible. Telling Apple to “turn back the clock to a less-secure time,” the FBI holds firm that encrypting information can leave the country vulnerable to foreign threat. Unfortunately for the government, Apple Inc. is not taking the FBI’s orders very well.
Recently, in response to the bureau’s demands, Apple VP Craig Federighi, wrote an article for the Washington Post, which points to the FBI as hypocritical, because encryption is not an unsecured measure, but rather a more secure measure than those currently being used. To back up his claim, Federighi refers to the many hacks that have occurred to U.S. companies at the hands of foreign enemies.
“In just the past 18 months, hackers have repeatedly breached the defenses of retail chains, banks and even the federal government, making off with the credit card information, Social Security numbers and fingerprint records of millions of people.”
Making certain to name Apple’s role in U.S. national security, Craig Federighi then wrote an explanation of how a simple gadget like a smartphone, namely, an iPhone, can easily become the tool for a massive security breach.
“Our nation’s vital infrastructure — such as power grids and transportation hubs — becomes more vulnerable when individual devices get hacked. Criminals and terrorists who want to infiltrate systems and disrupt sensitive networks may start their attacks through access to just one person’s smartphone.”
The FBI is against Apple’s encryption of data because the agency believes it will make their work more difficult in the event of a cyber security emergency. Federighi feels this reasoning does not hold up, because national security is only a small part of the country’s cyber security issue. The personal information of every American citizen is also at stake if the FBI continues to leave certain information unencrypted.
Policies by the FBI and other government organizations play a large role in America’s status in the technological world. Because of their policies, U.S. banks are only recently getting in biometrics as a bank security measure. Federighi enlightens the FBI on the importance of personal security through advertising the iPhone as the most equipped smartphone on the market to protect U.S. citizens from cyber attackers. With Apple products also being heavily used by some government organizations, the Apple VP mentions Apple’s role in securing the government itself.
“The encryption technology built into today’s iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers. And cryptographic protections on the device don’t just help prevent unauthorized access to your personal data — they’re also a critical line of defense against criminals who seek to implant malware or spyware and to use the device of an unsuspecting person to gain access to a business, public utility or government agency.”
The FBI is not aiming to completely block Apple from encrypting data, according to The Verge. Still, any prohibition is oppression in the eyes of Apple’s officials, and as for the FBI policies, Federighi instructs the agency to strive to be on the fighting side. Craig Federighi believes that to “turn back,” as the FBI ordered, would be a step backward in securing America’s infrastructure. To the idea of slowing down, Federighi with support from Apple CEO Tim Cook, wrote the following.
“We cannot afford to fall behind those who would exploit technology in order to cause chaos. To slow our pace, or reverse our progress, puts everyone at risk.”
[Feature image via Bloomberg/Getty Images]