The court order gained by the FBI to force Apple to create an encryption backdoor on the iPhone is just the latest example of legislators and judiciaries around the world being incapable of understanding the digital realm, and Apple is right to contest it.
Security backdoors are always wrong. They may be originally created for the right reasons, such as finding information about the digital footprint of a known terrorist as in this case, but once that backdoor has been created it is only a matter of time before it is exploited for more nefarious means.
At first the backdoor would be used by other law enforcement agencies for lesser crimes like drug dealing, but once it is in the hands of more people it will eventually be found by hackers on a compromised system and then it’s out in the wild. And once there, people may as well switch of all security on the phone because it will be useless against hackers with the master-key.
Even if you ignore the privacy argument that government agencies should not be able to have access to all your data on a whim, the creation of a backdoor is dangerous because that backdoor is open for everyone.
Every technology CEO, journalist, and privacy activist has made the points Tim Cook wrote in his open letter before, but all arguments appear to be falling on deaf ears in governments across the globe.
In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a ban on encryption all together, demonstrating a lack of understanding that is as depressing as it is scary. And this court order in the US shows that our friends over the pond have it little better.
Security services always want access to everything – information is their job – but it is the role of governments to find an equitable balance between giving them what they need and the public’s rights to privacy and to keep their information away from hackers.