Apple has stepped up its public battle with US law enforcement, after a senior executive claimed allowing the FBI access to an encrypted iPhone could help criminals in the future.
Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president for software engineering, used an article in the Washington Post to launch a robust defence of Apple’s decision not to allow the FBI access to an iPhone belonging to the terrorist behind last year’s San Bernardino shootings.
Taking up Apple CEO Tim Cook’s argument that developing software for the FBI to allow it to hack into a single iPhone could lead to further breaches by criminals in future, Federighi said: “Once created, this software — which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones — would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all.”
Federighi also accused the FBI and others of wanting “to turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies".
In a stinging rebuke to law enforcement, he continued: “They have suggested that the safeguards of iOS 7 were good enough and that we should simply go back to the security standards of 2013.
"But the security of iOS 7, while cutting-edge at the time, has since been breached by hackers. What’s worse, some of their methods have been productized [sic] and are now available for sale to attackers who are less skilled but often more malicious.”
Federighi’s argument is the latest defence launched by Apple against the FBI. It is currently locked in a battle in the US Congress over federal injunctions to breach the aforementioned iPhone.
In a separate case, a New York judge has ruled that the FBI cannot use legislation dating back to the 18th century to access a criminal’s iPhone.
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