image courtesy of: meteoweb.eu

by: Laura Wetherbee

The FBI has asked Apple to develop a tool that could be used on any iPhone, which could make users susceptible to hackers and government surveillance.

According to yahoo.com, which posted an article titled “FBI, Apple clash in Congress on encryption,” by Robe Lever, the battle between the FBI and Apple over encryption moved to Congress.

The article said FBI chief, James Comey, defended his agency’s efforts to force Apple to help unlock an iPhone in the San Bernardino attacks probe, saying that law enforcement’s job may be crippled by “warrant-proof spaces” that become inaccessible to investigators.

This case has set off a serious public debate and Comey said Americans need to know the safety implications in encryption makes it impossible to access data on smart-phones and other devices.

Comey said that while everyone values privacy, “there are times law enforcement saves our lives and rescues our children.”

Apple general counsel, Bruce Sewell, said the public should understand that “encryption is a good thing, a necessary thing,” even if it makes the work of law enforcement more difficult.

“This is not about the San Bernardino case,” said Sewell, “this is about the safety and security of every iPhone that is in use today.”

Apple argued the FBI is effectively asking the company to “hack” its own devices and create a “back door” that malicious attackers could exploit, explained Lever in his article.

Lever said lawmakers from both parties appeared skeptical of the FBI efforts, questioning whether they could lead to weaker overall security in the future for new technologies.

Susan Landau, a cybersecurity specialist at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, backed Apple’s case on the risks of providing a weaker operating system.

“It would weaken us, but not change it for the bad guys,” Landau said, noting that criminals could still use apps for encryption.

According to Fox News, which posted an article titled “Social media giants back Apple in dispute with FBI,” Facebook and Twitter have come out in support of Apple’s decision to fight the court ruling.

Facebook has now released a statement declaring support for Apple’s stance while insisting it supported the police and security services in their fight against terrorism.

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey tweeted the social network supported the “leadership: shown by Apple’s boss, Tim Cook.”

Cook said that if Apple were to develop a workaround for its encryption software it would “threaten the security of customers.”

“The FBI asked us for help in the days following the attack, and we have worked hard to support the government’s efforts to solve this horrible crime,” said Cook, adding “We have no sympathy for terrorists.”