Ever wonder why houses don’t have locks on the outside that JUST the police can use in case you fall down the stairs or get trapped inside for whatever reason? Or, have you ever thought about dropping off a spare key at your local precinct?
No. Of course not. Because why the hell would you? It doesn’t make sense, and it can’t work without creating a massive risk for abuse.
Wired said it much better and more tech-savvy-ly with this:
“It would be great if we could make a backdoor that only the FBI could walk through,” says Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “But that doesn’t exist. And literally every single mathematician, cryptographer, and computer scientist who’s looked at it has agreed.”
Well that’s kind of what the FBI is asking Apple to do to it’s iPhone software. The FBI said that there is no way to break in to the phone of the San Bernadino shooters, or at least there wasn’t before today.
On Monday the FBI claimed that it will be dropping legal action against Apple (for now) because it has found a new way to get into the phones without their help. So far they are keeping mum about how they got in and what they have found so far.
Those short, vague sentences are pretty worrying. That’s because it brings up a LOT of questions:
- Until now, the FBI was quite adamant about the fact the government (including the NSA) and all its vast resources had no way of getting into those phones (yes, plural) and yet now they manage to find a way in within a week of the legal battle beginning?
- Where did this tech come from?
- And what they will do with the software they have magically happened upon, created, traveled to the future and brought back as a souvenir?
- Will they share with other law enforcement agencies?
- Can Apple get a looksie so they can design better software and protection for future generations of the iPhone? (lol! ok so we know the answer there is no)
- Can it be used on other brands?
- Will they need a warrant to use it?
- What does this mean for the future of privacy regarding mobile devices?
- How will the FBI keep this software safe from hackers?
- How will they keep it safe from their own staff that might want to take a peak into their significant others‘ phones because they’ve been staying out a little later than usual lately?
Time to wrap up because I’m already WAY past my deadline to post this on Monday, I’d like to leave you with this to think about. Who is in charge of our security? Who is in charge of our safety?
Are we just building an unending Jenga tower of personal information that can either; a) incriminate us unduly based on vague meta-data like in Cory Doctorow’s novel Little Brother where the main character’s erratic bus travel is enough to put him on a terrorist watch-list (tracked by his transit card that links to his bank account and all sorts of other fun things that can cause a bunch of trouble if it were hacked and/or monitors), b) be used to blackmail us by people hiding behind computer screens who may or may not even be the people who helped the FBI hack Apple’s software whose jobs we keep makin easier through dumb-ass security breaching apps like this piece of shit? or even c) will just eventually crumble into a pile of meaninglessness because an the sun has had enough of our bullshit and has finally sent an EMP to fry all of our electronics and send us back basics for a little while. I guess if that happens we can all still visit this lady for our information needs.
Lots to think about, and I hope this was at least coherent enough to get across the point that I really, really don’t like where the future of cyber security is heading.