Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple’s Statement Regarding the FBI’s Successful Unlocking of the Pensacola Shooter’s iPhone

From Apple’s statement, as posted by Chris Welch of the Verge:

On this and many thousands of other cases, we continue to work around-the-clock with the FBI and other investigators who keep Americans safe and bring criminals to justice. As a proud American company, we consider supporting law enforcement’s important work our responsibility. The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security.

This rebuke appears to be targeted at the many criticisms of Apple’s conduct made today by Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray:

Both officials say that encryption on the gunman’s devices severely hampered the investigation. “Thanks to the great work of the FBI — and no thanks to Apple — we were able to unlock Alshamrani’s phones,” said Barr, who lamented the months and “large sums of tax-payer dollars” it took to get into devices of Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, who killed three US sailors and injured eight other people on December 6th.

Apple says that it provided everything it had related to Alshamrani’s iPhones, including iCloud backups.

Thomas Brewster, Forbes:

[Barr] even laid into Apple for working with China and Russia to relocate data centers to help those countries carry out surveillance. “If tech companies are willing to oblige the demands of authoritarian regimes they have no excuse to cooperate with rule of law nations with… privacy rights.”

Apple’s compliance with the demands of Russia and China has been disheartening and it has robbed the company of some of its credibility on privacy. But it is a mystery to me why Barr would see obsequious behaviour to these countries as something to be admired and emulated. If it is reasonable to criticize Apple for complying in authoritarian states, then surely what is so upsetting is that it amounts to a loss of personal privacy and security for users in those countries.