Apple’s legal battle with the FBI over unlocking an iPhone one of the two shooters in the San Bernardino attacks was using just doesn’t seem to be ending. Now several former high-level government officials have voiced their support of Apple, criticizing the FBI for the efforts it is making to compel the tech firm to offer its help to law enforcement to unlocking the terrorist’s iPhone, says a report from Fortune.
Putting Apple’s software at risk
On Thursday at the RSA cyber-security conference in San Francisco, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said forcing Apple to create software that weakens the iPhone’s security would be akin to “creating a bacterial biological weapon.”
Other law enforcement agencies have made several similar demands, which would put Apple’s software at an increased risk of being leaked into the hands of criminals. The nation needs to have ubiquitous encryption, according to Mike McConnell, who was also present at the conference. McConnell is a former Director of National Intelligence and Navy Vice Admiral. McConnell explained that the U.S. will come under the risk of cyber-espionage from other countries if any attempt is made to weaken the encryption technology.
Nuala O’Connor, a former Chief Privacy Officer at the Department of Homeland Security, said encryption technology has an important role to play in protecting the privacy of U.S. citizens, and as more devices such as automobiles and household appliances get connected online, the importance of data encryption is rising further.
“You have boundaries around your data that are inalienable,” O’Connor said.
Rising need for encryption
Chertoff, echoing O’Connor’s statements, said that with the expansion of the Internet of Things, the need for data encryption is also growing. Chertoff explained that with an increase in the number of devices wired to the internet, cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure will increase as well. Securing them will be equally important to protecting our borders. The statements former government officials are giving are in contrast with the comments the FBI Director James Comey made recently in the legal battle against Apple.
Comey is a critic of encryption technology and said, “Litigation isn’t about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message.”