The senior vice president of Apple’s internet software and services, Eddy Cue has said allowing the FBI to unlock an iPhone connected to the recent San Bernadino shooting will endanger the future of modern privacy. In an interview on the Spanish television channel Univision, Cue defended Apple’s reluctance to give in to the FBI’s order to unlock the phone as it would open the door for further surveillance and terrorist activity.
The iPhone 5C is believed to contain information concerning the events leading up to the San Bernadino massacre which took place last December, killed 14 people and injured a further 20. However, Apple believes the American Department of Justice’s (DOJ) order to manually turn off the auto-erase feature, which deletes the phone’s data after ten incorrect passcode attempts, is a step too far.
Cue said as soon as they provide this loophole, any number of people would be able to use it for illegal activity. “What they want is you to give a key to the back door of your house and you do not have the key. And that key, once it exists, exists not only for us. Terrorists, criminals, pirates, all too will find that key to open all phones.”
He said the FBI’s demands would eventually lead to more serious breaches of security and privacy, such as the use of a person’s camera. “Where does this stop? In a divorce case? In a tax case with the IRS? Someday, someone will be able to turn on a phone’s microphone. This should not happen in this country.”
Several surveys conducted showed mixed opinions, with a study from research center Pew finding 51 percent thought that Apple should obey the court order. However, 38 percent said they should stick by their decision. In a vote conducted by news agency Reuters, 46 percent stood by Apple’s choice, while 35 percent stood with the courts.
A trial will be held to decide whether or not Apple will be made to unlock the phone on March 22 in the Californian Federal Court in Riverside.