The Justice Department and Apple Computer are locked in a bitter legal battle in the FBI’s desire to unlock the iPhone used by the San Bernadino terrorists, both of whom were killed after their attack. The FBI, understandably, wants to see who else might be in the terrorists’ network. Surely, in the name of fighting terrorism, Apple should simply unlock the phone–right? Well, it isn’t that easy.
My iPhone has a four-digit code that I have to enter every time the screen goes black. When I got the phone, the guy at Verizon sternly instructed me that a user has six tries to enter the correct code. If the wrong numbers are entered, eventually the phone is disabled and everything on it is erased. A pang of fear shoots through me every time my big fingers hit the wrong numbers.
So if the FBI tries to unlock the terrorists’ phone–since it can’t get the correct numbers from the users, who are dead–they will likely instead cause the phone to erase everything they want to know. So the government wants to coerce Apple into developing a way to get into the phone anyway. [Read more…]