Apple's problem is not opening up a terrorist's iPhone, but the requests that follow

With everyone siding Apple for standing up against giving that access, there is another angle to the story that becomes evidently clear.

Amid the hullabaloo around Apple rejecting the magistrate's order to give backdoor access to the FBI in the San Bernardino shooting case and everyone siding with Apple for standing up against giving that access, there is another angle to the story that becomes evidently clear.

It's not that Apple cannot grant access to a single iPhone. It can do it by building a Software Image File (SIF) to be uploaded on to a single iPhone and that too inside Apple's premises (as per the request). Apple can do it, and the FBI's request is not a big one, as Dan Guido points out in his blog. It is just that Apple fears it will become a common exercise with the FBI coming up with more requests for the same. And it's not just the FBI, but governments around the world, (take for example our very own) who will put up requests (as mentioned in my previous article) for a variety of cases with the help of a number of Acts.

And this is exactly what Apple fears! Clearly, it is not just the way that Apple thinks, but Google, Facebook and Twitter as well. In fact, few tech giants will willingly give out user data to any organisation. This is so because users may soon begin to move away form the service or product once they get to know that their privacy is pretty much non-existent or not protected.


In Apple's case, the company is solely responsible for protecting the terrorist, Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone 5c. So giving access will not just show that Apple can make a backdoor, but all those years about security being a priority suddenly won't make sense to a consumer (who may look at another product).

As Vox's Timothy B. Lee rightly puts it, "Apple risks giving the impression that tech companies' objections aren't being made entirely in good faith." Something that BlackBerry finally gave up on after putting up its dukes with the Indian government back in 2012 after four long years.

For those not in the know, the company was being forced into opening up its services by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia and recently Pakistan as well. Clearly, the requests don't stop pouring in. So if Apple does open a backdoor, you can be sure that everyone is going to lineup at Cupertino asking for access; which is definitely not a good thing both for Apple's massive customer base and the company's future.

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