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Apple, Court Orders, the FCC and access to iPhone devices

kat · 1 · 9881

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Offline kat

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Apple has been in the new lately over their reaction to an order by the Federal Government that they force access to the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Much fuss is being made of this request and Apples objection to the idea of providing that kind of 'backdoor' access to devices they say are designed to be secured to prevent exactly this kind of obtrusiveness by Governments et al.

The devil is in the details. Under FCC regulations ALL telecommunications providers and device manufacturers are required by law to provide access to systems, services and devices and the information they may contain as part of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act - Apple et al are already obligated to provide access when requested (Court order not specifically required but request does need to be "lawfull" - "... pursuant to court order or other lawful authorization.").

The difference in this instance appears to be one of 'liability' rather than of 'access'; ostensibly the impression is one of the Court ordering APPLE to hack the device and hand over whatever they find, versus Apple simply providing information TO the Federal Government so THEY can do it. If Tim Hunt and Apple are objecting to the request on grounds of it being an "invasion of privacy" they're doing so disingenuously. If they're objecting because it might otherwise mean their being inculcated in the case (as seems to be what's happening), their objection stands and the Federal Government will need to find a different way to tackle the problem (short of 'forcing' Apple to comply).