Apple’s next move in its ongoing fight against the FBI appears to be “if we can’t do it, no one can.”
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the company is rushing to upgrade its security to stymie government efforts to create a backdoor into their phones, with the eventual goal being a system strong enough that user data is out of Apple’s reach entirely. This would make the F.B.I. and federal government’s current legal process to access the San Bernardino shooters’ phone a moot point, forcing the F.B.I. to find another way into the phone and a new round of legal battles and frantic programming.
Experts say that Apple will almost certainly finish the security upgrade, and that Congress is the only party that has the power to change the current fight.
“We are in for an arms race unless and until Congress decides to clarify who has what obligations in situations like this,” Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told the Times.
The F.B.I. is trying to force Apple to write and install “backdoor” software that would strip away security features, allowing the government to hack into the San Bernardino shooters’ phone (and, by extension, other similar phones). Apple hopes the planned security upgrade would fix this vulnerability.
Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at a security upgrade that would put user data so far out of reach even his company could not reach it in his letter to customers last week.
“We have even put that data out of our own reach, because we believe the contents of your iPhone are none of our business,” Cook wrote.