You guys know I am to current computer stuff what Little Bear is to Medieval Finnish Literature, right? And I’m pretty used to thinking of Apple as this evil empire seriously in need of somebody willing to shove a proton torpedo up its thermal exhaust port or something.
But then I heard a stub on NPR while in the Jeep today. Looked it up and found this…
We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.
Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.
The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.
Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.
We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.
While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.
It goes on at some length and is signed by Tim Cook, who appears to be the CEO of Apple.
I’m confused. I always thought all those gadgets already had back doors, and that a guy like this would be too busy fellating a Man In Black to ever have time – or any reason – to publicly defy him.
So somebody tell me: Am I losing my mind, or falling for a scam, or is the crypto on iGadgets actually real and Apple just raised a middle finger to the FBI?