The war of words between Apple and law enforcement authorities over iPhone encryption continues to rage on. Just yesterday, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering, Craig Federighi, penned an op-ed for The Washington Post yesterday where he articulated that Apple is always trying to stay one step ahead of terrorists and cyber criminals.
On the other side of the coin, NYPD counter-terrorism chief John Miller recently had extremely harsh words for Apple. During a radio interview over the weekend, Miller was baffled by Apple’s reluctance to assist the FBI unlock the iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Miller went so far as to explicitly say that Apple is choosing to help murderers.
“I still don’t know what made [Apple] change their minds and decide to actually design a system that made them not able to aid the police,” Miller explained.
“You are actually providing aid to the kidnappers, robbers and murderers who have actually been recorded on the telephones in Riker’s Island telling their compatriots on the outside, ‘You gotta get iOS 8. It’s a gift from God,’ — and that’s a quote — ‘because the cops can’t crack it.’”
Miller also added that the Manhattan DA currently has about 175 iPhones that the NYPD has received warrants to search. Only problem is that the NYPD has no way to access the devices given Apple’s security scheme. While some who side with law enforcement on this contentious issue might liken the scenario to the FBI having a warrant to search a house and being unable to get through the front door, proponents of Apple’s position would counter that assisting the FBI would eventually allow anyone to get through any locked front door in the world, with or without a warrant.
On a related note, Adi Shamir, also known as the godfather of encryption, recently said that he believes Apple should help the FBI get into the locked iPhone.
“Even though Apple has helped in countless cases,” Shamir said at a conference last week, “they decided not to comply this time. My advice is that they comply this time and wait for a better test case to fight where the case is not so clearly in favor of the FBI.”
Notably, Shamir seems to be in the minority relative to other security and cryptography experts who have overwhelmingly supported Apple’s position in recent weeks.