iPhone encryption: Law enforcement request Apple’s help

The Apple iPhone (4S and 5) appears to be so good that it has stumped law enforcement agencies. The ATF have apparently requested the assistance of the group in Cupertino to get past the encryption as they can’t. There’s one small catch…Apple put you on a waiting list! That’s right, according to the CNET article¬†Apple are so deluged by the amount of requests that there is a 7 week wait and that’s if you’re lucky! One request reportedly took 4 months to complete.

This opens up the wider issue of privacy and in the case of America, 4th Amendment rights. Personally what I would like to find out is why and how Apple Inc can manage to decrypt your data and make it available to officers. Did they build a backdoor into their encryption? If this is the case then surely they will lose a lot of trust within the technology community? If that’s not the case and they managed to work around it then how secure is our data in the first place?

By now you probably are already aware that I will side with the privacy advocates. It’s simply not a question of “well I have nothing to hide so why do I care”. The underlying point is why should I have to justify my actions unless there is valid cause? If law enforcement suspect me of a crime then go ahead and use the proper legal avenues to bring about any action. Our founding principles both in the UK and the US is innocent until proven guilty. That principle has managed to work well for hundreds of years, I don’t see why that would change now.

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