In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting on December 2nd, many Americans expected talks about terrorism, gun control and immigration. Few thought the tragedy would also spark a debate about tech privacy.
But that's exactly what happened when the FBI asked Apple for backdoor access to one of the shooter's phones.
In principle, the FBI was requesting access to a single cell phone. But as Apple pointed out, granting access to one phone could jeopardize the security of all it's users. In fact, CEO Tim Cook went as far as to email every Apple customer. In the email, he expresses shock and rage at the attack but emphasizes how seriously complying with the FBI would threaten the privacy of Apple users.
[T]he U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone. Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone's physical possession.... And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.
Since Cook's letter, the debate about what Apple should do has escalated, with one side arguing that Apple should comply with the FBI's request in the name of national security, and the other urging Apple to put its customers' privacy first.
Well, this week, a very prominent figure added his opinion to the mix: Apple co-founder and engineer Steve Wozniak, who appeared on Conan in support of Apple.
"What if China says: 'Apple, you've got to give us a backdoor so we can get into any phone, even your government officials, and inspect them any time.' That's wrong," Wozniak said.