Amidst settling tensions between US and Iran, the Western nation is having yet another complication with Saudi Arabia on the shootings done by a Saudi Air Force officer who killed three sailors and wounded others of Pensacola Naval Base, before being shot down by a deputy sheriff. This eventually led to an investigation and asking Apple, the killer’s phone maker, to help in case where the firm refused to do so, leading Trump to accuse it for being unhelpful.
The killer Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani (aged 21), was considered as hard evidence by William Barr, US government’s top lawyer, in his investigations of the probe. While he said that Apple didn’t give him substantial assistance in the incident, Trump took charge of further accusing Apple of being unsupportive.
Refusals And Accusations
Apple refused to unlock the alleged person’s two iPhones, says it doesn’t have the ability to do so. Further, it clarified of not building any kind of backdoors to let someone have unauthorized access. The company, in response to Barr’s statement, said,
“We reject the characterization that Apple has not provided substantive assistance in the Pensacola investigation. Our responses to their many requests since the attack have been timely, thorough and are ongoing.”
This led Trump to respond as, “We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”
May the president is referring to navigation of US-China trade war recently, which helped Apple to avoid tariffs as levied by the US on Chinese goods. This isn’t the first time Apple’s being accused of being unhelpful. A similar incident in past led Apple going against FBI, which eventually settled when an unknown private hacker cracked the criminal’s iPhone lock.
The Backdoor Game
US Government has a long history of pressurizing tech companies to add a backdoor to their platforms, so as to lookup alleged person’s data of past, which they think would be helpful. It could be, but with various side effects. Weakening the encryption isn’t the solution needed. While it just simplifies the tracking process, it’s more of letting unknown hackers a simple way into someone’s phone too.
Few think that companies may allow Government to access data upon special legal warrants, or companies sharing keys with law enforcement so they can peek into someone’s chats whenever required. But this isn’t a feasible way. Ever since public realized how NSA was spying on them, they lost faith in how government is handling data. And now letting the authority keep encryption keys or allowing it rights to access may not be limited to what’s determined.
America isn’t the only one asking for it though, the UK is debating on the similar bill for adding backdoors to tech companies. In another incident, Australia has long ago passed one such bill for allowing the government to access encrypted messages.