Does the government need Apple's help unlocking an iPhone?

As Apple continues to fight the federal government's order to unlock the iPhone used by a gunman in the San Bernardino attack last December, new questions regarding the government's intention have risen.

Experts suggest the federal government presses forward in this battle mainly to establish a precedent where in the future businesses will be forced to assist them. According to a Bloomberg report, "the feds almost certainly could [break into the iPhone] themselves."

Apple publicly lists security vulnerabilities which cyber experts could exploit to try to gain access, and the National Security Agency is "the best-funded spy agency on Earth," according to the report.

Additionally, a Politico report suggests the government already has access to much of the information investigators need, such as websites the shooter visited, phone calls made, apps downloaded and text messages exchanged.

Apple maintains its opposition to the government's demand for unlocking the iPhone, and has garnered the support of approximately 40 companies that have submitted court briefs in the Federal District Court for the District of Central California challenging the case, reports The New York Times.

The United Nations has also joined the conversation, saying forcing Apple to unlock the iPhone may threaten the safety of lives around the world, according to The Washington Post.

In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said, "It is potentially a gift to authoritarian regimes, as well as to criminal hackers," if the government is successful in forcing Apple to unlock the phone. "Encryption and anonymity are needed as enablers of both freedom of expression and opinion, and the right to privacy. It is neither fanciful nor an exaggeration to say that, without encryption tools, lives may be endangered."

More articles on Apple vs. the FBI:

Perspective: What the Apple-FBI battle means for health data
Apple, FBI & House hearing: How the standoff could result in an encryption precedent
Bill Gates sides with FBI in Apple encryption debate

 

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