This from I, Cringely, an entertaining and insightful blogger in the U.S. Now, you need to pay attention. This isn’t a Stuff story. Then you will be rewarded. Of course, in other news, that fine example of pure intelligence, Donald Trump, said we should all boycott Apple over this. Neglecting to realise he tweeted the barb from his, you guessed it, iPhone. Total genius.
The FBI holds an iPhone that was owned by one of the San Bernardino terrorists, Syed Rizwan Farook, and wants Apple to crack it. Apple CEO Tim Cook is defying the FBI request and the court order that accompanied it, saying that cracking the phone would require developing a special version of iOS that could bypass passcode encryption. If such a genetically modified mobile OS escaped into the wild it could be used by anyone to crack any current iPhone, which would be bad for Apple’s users and bad for Amurica, Cook says. So he won’t do it, dag nabbit.
That’s the big picture story dominating the tech news this week. However compelling, I’m pretty sure it’s wrong. Apple isn’t defying the FBI. Or at least Apple isn’t defying the Department of Justice, of which the FBI is supposed to be a part. I believe Apple is actually working with the DoJ, which doesn’t really want to compel Apple to do anything except play a dramatic and very political role.
Now for some more details. In order to get their court order the FBI had to tell the judge that its own lab couldn’t crack the phone. Or maybe they said their lab didn’t crack the phone. Nobody knows. But the first question any cynic with technical bones would ask is, “Can’t the CIA/NSA/Steve Gibson, somebody crack that darned iPhone?”