Steve Wozniak Weighs In On Apple’s Fight For Encryption Versus The FBI And He’s Written Viruses Too

One thing you can count on when Apple is in the midst of a controversy is an opinion from Steve Wozniak, the outspoken tech guru who doesn't always side with the company he co-founded. Heck, if Apple toots in the wind, it's a good bet the Woz will have something to say about it. Surprisingly, he's been quiet about Apple's beef with the FBI over iPhone encryption, though he made his feelings known in an appearance on the Conan O'Brien show.

Straight to the point, Wozniak is decidedly on Apple's side on this one. As one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights group that seeks to protect civil liberties in the digital world, it's not surprising that Wozniak would back Apple in this case. But his feelings go beyond being part of an organization that fights against the very thing the FBI is trying to do.

Steve Wozniak and Conan O'Brien

Part of Wozniak's issue with the FBI's stance is that he feels the iPhone in question isn't likely to contain any valuable information.

"They picked the lamest case you ever could. The two phones owned by the people that aren't even convicted terrorists didn't have one link to a terrorist organization. Verizon turned over all the phone records, all the SMS messages. So they want to take this other phone that the two didn't destroy, that was a work's so lame and worthless to expect something's on it," Wozniak said.

If you've somehow managed to miss what's going on, the FBI secured a court order forcing Apple to give technical assistance in bypassing the security measures of the iPhone 5c model that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple is fighting the court order as it feels that providing the FBI with a backdoor into the iPhone would compromise the security of hundreds of millions of iPhones. Apple also worries about the precedent it would set.

Wozniak seems to understand where Apple is coming from, as he's written viruses for the Mac platform in the past and ultimately discarded the code for fear of it falling into the wrong hands.

"A couple of times in my life I wrote something that could be a virus that could have spread itself on Macintosh computers forever. Each time I threw away every bit of code I'd written, I was so scared inside. You do not want to let something like that out," Wozniak explained.

That's part of what Apple is worried about. If it builds a gimped version of iOS, it could potentially leak out, at which point every iOS device in the world would be vulnerable.