Apple has been fighting against the federal agencies to maintain the privacy of its devices, especially iPhones. There is a strong debate between privacy and security and neither side seems to relent.
Since the incidence of shooting at San Bernardino, where the attackers used an iPhone 5C, FBI is after Apple to unlock the phone for the evidence. The information is sought under the All Writs Act (AWA).
As this case proceeded, the United States District Court Eastern District of New York Judge James Orenstein ruled in favour of Apple stating that the company is not liable to give information to the FBI in this case and that the AWA as used by the FBI for forcing Apple to give them the access to iPhone is too vast and abstract that its interpretation as per the FBI is unlawful and unconstitutional.
Apple has received support from the likes of Microsoft and Google who have stated similar reservations as Apple in such cases. Apple has clarified the reason for its opposition to grant access to iPhones.
According to the company, granting an access to the iPhone data is just like creating a backdoor in the system which means compromising its security. Currently, iOS deletes the data on the phone if it senses that there is an attempt to access the data in an unauthorised manner. According to Apple, the kind of access FBI is looking for will require bypassing this mechanism.
The company further states that if the security of iPhone is compromised in one of these cases, there is no stopping of it being used in other cases. It will create a wrong precedent which the authorities might misuse for activities such as surveillance. There is no guarantee then that the iPhones of specific users will be used to spy on these very users by switching on their microphone and camera. It can be then used not just on terrorist suspects but on anyone. Also, once it is done in the US, governments of other countries will also demand similar access.