Apple to the FBI: 'Nah'

Apple to the FBI: 'Nah'

Your favorite tech giant is refusing to cooperate with the FBI. But why? And what does it mean for your privacy?

Published February 18th

Does Apple CEO Tim Cook really care about your privacy? He’d like you to believe so.

On Tuesday, Cook released a statement that the company has chosen to contest a federal court order that dictates Apple help the FBI to unlock an iPhone used by one of the attackers in last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino.

Cook mentions the FBI has requested that Apple “build a backdoor to the iPhone” and create a “new version of the iPhone operating system” that doesn’t currently exist, which “would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.” No more leaving phones in cabs, people!

Cook is most likely taking this divisive stance as Apple has positioned itself as a protector of privacy over other companies, such as Google, and claims its business model does not hinge on storing and selling copious amounts of user data. And Google, catching on to this, has come out in favor of Apple in this debate.

While as sweet and soothing a sentiment this all is, it’s not as if Apple doesn’t collect any user data. Apple actually does collect “non-personal” user data to sell or store or inform future product development and improve advertising. By “non-personal” Apple means, they know where you work, where you are in real time, and use cookies to track the rabbit holes you fall down on the web. The key difference with Apple vs. Google is it doesn’t link all of that “non-personal” data with personal data like your name, number and email.

There’s also the issue of the iCloud back up, which if you opt into as is suggested by prompts every time you set up a new iPhone, your iMessages and photos are stored to the cloud and vulnerable to anyone with access, a warran or the ability to hack (cue: Apple, the FBI or that weird IT guy at work who always asks what you’re doing this weekend).  

Apple’s most notable issues with breached encryption of their iCloud services was the great Fappening incident of 2014 which resulted in moms all over America frantically emailing their college kids to stay the hell away from every type of cloud: iClouds, rain clouds, smoke clouds, you name it.

Apple fears the FBI proposed encryption skeleton key would provide easy access to data and is trying to protect users from unprecedented surveillance getting into the wrong hands, which could be big brother, Voldemort or even your girlfriend.

She won’t have to ask, “Who are you texting all the time?” She’ll just be able to punch in four numbers on your phone and find out exactly who you’ve been DMing, look at your dumb gym selfies and find your Candy Crush score. 

Tim Cooke wants everyone to know Apple’s just looking out for us, fam.

(Photo from left: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Apple)

Written by Jimy Shah

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