According to the author of a new Wall Street Journal report, "Tim Cook is playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship with the U.S. government. In the process, he may set in motion political and judicial processes that will endanger the security of all our mobile devices."
The WSJ reporter Christopher Mims notes that "First, let me say that I agree with the spirit of Mr. Cook's open letter rebuffing a court order that Apple is to create a new version of the iPhone's operating system to allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation to access the locked, encrypted phone used by one of the assailants in the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif."
Mims continues, "Yet here's the rub: The FBI says it wants Apple to create this software only for this one device. But if the code gets into the wild—and these things have a way of doing so—it will render the encryption on all iPhones everywhere essentially moot.
Still, the specifics of this case are messier than Mr. Cook allows, and not all in Apple's favor.
First, there are the optics of the situation: As tech analyst Ben Thompson notes, "It's a case of domestic terrorism with a clear-cut bad guy and a warrant that no one could object to, and Apple is capable of fulfilling the request."
This is a point of view shared by Philip Lieberman, president and CEO of Lieberman Software who says that "It’s trivial for them to write this code, it’s an afternoon’s worth of work. It’s just a patch to one phone and then that’s it."
Finally, notes Mims, there is a risk that however this case turns out, Apple risks losing a larger legal war. The fallout could force Apple—and others, including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. —to back down on their project of bringing strong encryption to everyday devices. For more on this, check out the full WSJ report here.
Apple's Firestorm covered in Four Other Reports Today
Edward Snowden Steps into Apple's Privacy Case: "This is the most important tech Case in a Decade" Jan 17, 2016
Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Sides with the Court on Unlocking an iPhone while Railing against Apple – Jan 17, 2016
Enterprise Security Firm Says Apple Could Easily Comply with the Court Order to Open the iPhone 5c – Jan 17, 2016
The Court Rules that Apple must Provide 'Reasonable Technical Assistance' to Unlock an Infamous U.S. Terrorist's iPhone – Jan 17, 2016