New York District Attorney Demands Federal Law To Unlock Hundreds of Recovered iPhones
2016 is going to be remembered for a number of fortunate and unfortunate things, with one topic that falls into the latter category being the debacle of U.S. law enforcement vs. Apple. The FBI and other US federal agencies have made it no secret that they would like to be able to gain access to any smartphone if the need arises - something that anyone who cares even remotely about their privacy shouldn't be okay with.
In the months that followed, the FBI somehow managed to break into an iPhone 5C without any help from Apple. And while it's not clear if the agency is able to pull that off on more recent iPhones, it looks like the FBI is not willing to divulge how it cracked the device to any other agency, including New York's District Attorney.
New York District Attorney, Cryus Vance is proposing the passing of a law that will require phones to remain super-secure, but allow law enforcement in to help solve cases. This is of course nearly an oxymoron - you can't build any sort of backdoor into a product and pretend that it doesn't make the device less secure to would-be attackers looking to exploit it. Despite that, it's exactly what this New York DA is proposing. At a speech to usher in the opening of the DA's new cyberlab, NY County District Attorney Cyrus Vance said, "[The report] further concludes that requiring smartphone makers to retain the ability to extract data will not increase users’ risks of being hacked."
This logic is clearly nonsensical and highlights the risks of trusting those not familiar enough with tech to be involved in the authorship and proposal of laws involving sometimes complex subject as data security.
Vance justifies the creation of this new law based on the fact that his team has some 400 iOS products on-hand that could aide in making or breaking a case. These devices span the entire gamut of Apple's iOS line, including iPads and and any iPhone released over the last few years. Vance concludes his thought on the matter, stating, "Doing nothing about this problem will perpetuate an untenable arms race between private industry and law enforcement, and that federal legislation is our only chance to lay these arms aside."