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What If Apple Engineers are Kidnapped and Forced to Write (Exploit) Code?

Exactly this was what FBI Director James Comey asked in the congressional hearing on Tuesday.

The House Judiciary Committee hearing on "The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy" over the ongoing battle between Apple and the FBI ended up being full of drama.

The key to the dispute is whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) can force Apple to develop a special version of its mobile operating system that would help the agency unlock an iPhone belonged to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.

FBI Director James Comey was there with a prepared testimony about why the FBI wants Apple to create a backdoor into the killer's iPhone.

Comey: Encryption is a Long-Term Threat to Law Enforcement


Yesterday, a New York magistrate judge refused a similar order in a drug case in which the authorities asked Apple to help with the data stored in an unlocked iPhone.

The judge suggested that the government’s interpretation of the All Writs Act – the same 1789 law the FBI is invoking in the San Bernardino case to compel Apple to write a backdoor – would weaken the separation of powers as well as trample on the United States Constitution itself.

Comey, who portrayed Encryption as a long-term threat to the law enforcement because it lets criminals "go dark," said:
"Slippery slope arguments are always attractive, but I suppose you could say, 'Well, Apple's engineers have this in their head, what if they're kidnapped and forced to write software?' That's where the judge has to sort this out, between good lawyers on both sides making all reasonable arguments."
By making this comment, Comey wants to highlight that Apple is capable of creating a backdoor to unlock the iPhone's encryption, a fact Apple has admitted.

It seems that certain Apple engineers are guided on what to do if they're kidnapped, and according to a source with knowledge of Apple's security practices, the engineers are told to "go along with the demands and do whatever is necessary to survive."

Simply "Do whatever they ask. No heroes."




Apple: Can not Weaken Security of All of Our Products


Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell, who was also prepared with his testimony, argued how a court order could compel the company to circumvent its own encryption technology in an effort to get at the contents of an iPhone.

The FBI wants Apple to write a backdoored version of iOS that would help the feds circumvent iPhone's security measures. Apple countered that doing so would not only undermine the security of all its products, but also set a troubling example for the tech industry.
Swell said, "Building that software tool would not affect just one iPhone. It would weaken the security for all of them."

Apple Working on Unhackable iPhones


This kidnapping issue could also be resolved soon, as Apple is working on an unbreakable iPhone that even the company can not hack.

In addition, the company has also hired Frederic Jacobs, one of the key developers of World's most secure, encrypted messaging app Signal in order to enhance its iPhone security that even it can not break.

If this is not enough, Apple is also working on encrypting iCloud backups that only the account owner would have access, eliminating either way for the FBI or hackers that could expose its users data.

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