Apple Takes on Feds over Encryption Order

Feb. 18, 2016

Apple Takes on Feds over Encryption Order A federal judge has ordered Apple to create a “backdoor” that will enable the agency to access the iPhone of one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino killings in December. U.S. Magistrate Sheri Pym on Tuesday said Apple must disable its encryption on iOS to allow the FBI to try to break into the phone without it erasing its data after too many unsuccessful attempts, as it normally would. Apple, also on Tuesday, responded with a letter to its customers detailing why it would fight the ruling, which the agency says will only apply to the particular device under investigation in this case. Apple said that ignores the “basics of digital security and the significance of what the government is demanding in this case.”

According to the letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook, once such a backdoor is created and turned over to the government, the tool could be adapted and used repeatedly on many different kinds of devices. That would put the “incredible amount of personal information, from our private conversations to our photos, our music, our notes, our calendars and contacts, our financial information and health data” at risk of intrusion from the government and criminals taking advantage of weakened encryption.

“We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack,” Cook said. “For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data.”

For a mobile payment ecosystem reliant on the fragile consumer acceptance that their personal and financial details are safe, the resolution of this issue could cause significant disturbance. At this May’s CNP Expo, several sessions will be devoted to network security , but our session on the “Lay of the Legal Land” will examine how government “requests” like this could affect CNP merchants and service providers. Click here to find out more about the CNP Expo and to register today .