We have all read the headlines, the myriad of articles discussing privacy versus security and we all probably know which side of the fence we sit on – but who are the real losers in this scenario?
It is no secret that the FBI have been asking for Apple’s help in accessing data on an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists.
There is in fact a whole story behind this if we dig deeper:
Apple complied with, and actively assisted, the FBI’s investigation, right up until it did no more. A lot of information was passed back and forth during these exchanges. Apple also gave the FBI some unsolicited advice:
“take the phone to a home or apartment and power it, plug it in and let it back up”.
The FBI responded with “ Well it didn’t work”.
And may we ask the reason it didn’t work? It transpires the FBI made one huge error in judgement and an even bigger tactical error before waiting for Apple’s advice – they had already reset the iCloud password.
Many iPhone owners will justifiably be holding their head in their hands at this point.
Once an iCloud password has been changed it will no longer automatically create a fresh backup of its contents without the device’s four to six digit passcode.
The FBI had all the information at their fingertips, they could have accessed all the information on the device after a backup was completed but they blew it.
The situation was due to hit court on March 22nd until the FBI announced it had succeeded in accessing the data using an external company and scrapped the suit.
At this point both sides look like winners – The FBI got the data (although we still don’t know what), Apple stuck to their guns but will it end here?
The Justice Department have called this “Round 1”, it is clear that it isn’t the end of the Security versus Privacy debate.
So, if both Apple and the FBI walk out of this feeling like winners, who are the real losers in the equation?
Smartphone users have been aware for sometime that communication can be compromised and they would, on the whole, not be averse to having their communication checked in the fight against extremism and Cyber Terrorism.
We have to hope that the real losers are the Cyber Criminal, that their secure form of communication has been compromised and that watching this unfold has removed their safety net of Privacy rights.