Welcome to the continuation in The Great Apple Debate Series where I compare the requests made by the Court Order, issued by the Central District of California on 16 February 2016 and Apple’s response on the same day.
Apple: 16 February 2016 “All that information needs to be protected from hackers and criminals who want to access it, steal it, and use it without our knowledge or permission”.
“We have even put the data out of our own reach, because we believe the contents of your iPhone are none of our business”.
The first point made by Apple is reasonable, just and expected by any customer of any institution, whether it be a cell phone, banking, retailers and the Government and all its sub agencies that collect, process and store our data. Whether these are National Insurance Numbers, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, bank details and complete names and address.
For Apple to post this on their own website and given in context of the law enforcement request on a SUBJECT and SUBJECT DEVICE , i.e. a named individual and cell phone, or alternatively, one individual and one iPhone is completely misleading and appears to have inadverdantly stated otherwise.
Instead Apple has created a different impression for its customers and non customers globally, especially those customers who are law abiding citizens and would have done the right thing.
The second point made by Apple disturbs me completely. While at face value this comment appears valid and reasonable, however Apple has given the impression of waiving it’s responsibility. The impressions of not only waiving it’s responsibility in the case of producing information on request by a law enforcement authority, but an impression of what you do on their iPhone is none of their business. What questions can be drawn from this statement, about some of its customer base who may be abusing it’s cell phones, encription and locked devises, especially those customers who may be involved in potential criminal acts?
We live in a global environment with ever increasing reliance on technology, from payment systems, business and social communications as well as storing personal and confidential data, especially banking related passwords etc… These very same technology systems are also being abused by criminals and terrorists networks, with the safety of knowing they can hide behind encryption, locked and secured devices.
Has Apple indirectly communicated to its customer and potential customer base worldwide that they do not care what you do behind their back on their own products? It appears so.
NO Institution or company should ever directly or indirectly give the impression as Apple has with its message to the world. No company should ever not care that’s it’s products being abused by criminals, both, for financial crime or terrorist funding or communication.
Banks and financial institutions worldwide have recognised the abuse of its products by criminals and terrorists, and have set up systems which recognise unusual patterns of behaviour by its customers as well as algorythim software to detect peaks and spikes in its business.
This monitoring enables the institution to take action against its customers who have abused their products and services. Action taken maybe not only reporting them to the Financial Intelligence Units, but also abiding by the law where requests for information made against one of their customers.
In the past few years we have seen terrorist acts which may have relied on communication, either via cellphones or using the dark web to coordinate it’s attacks. Where institutions provide ever increasing encryption on their devices, thse criminals may follow. On this basis these very same companies should provide the information to law authorities where a request has been made so as to protect its citizens globally from further potential acts.
Has Apple done the right thing?
To be continued…
Central District of California, Field Clerk U.S District Court: 16 February 2016