Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bad Apple

Ramblings Post #311
Sometimes the world, or God, or the deity of your choice depending on where you are reading this, sends you a message. Maybe it's the same song playing over and over again randomly as you go through your day. It could be the way the wind blows, or running into just that right person at just that right moment. Or it could be the day you tell the government you don't have to help them, they respond by telling they got it done without you. God has a sense of humor. Or the deity of your choice, depending on where you are reading this. 

Last month, the evil and over reaching US government got a crazy judge to conjure up court order to have our heroes at Apple assist in trying to investigate what was either a terrorist attack or a brutal mass shooting. They requested that the company help them access the encrypted data on one of their premier products - the iPhone. Apple balked, calling the request an order to create a backdoor into their device, wrapping itself in the flag and screaming give me liberty or free wifi...or something like that. That's like a fair explanation of it right?

Okay, maybe I'm being overly dramatic, but I thought then and I still think now that Apple could have chosen a better place to stand to make it's case for personal encryption in the face of government intrusion. All those cases in New York involving crimes where neither party is completely clean? One of them maybe? No? In any case, after cloaking themselves in the concept that we should be able to live free from government intrusion (although properly warranted) the one thing that Apple didn't want to happen went ahead and happened - the government was able to access the phone without them.

Using an unknown, third party group. 

So now Apple has another problem. The issue they were trying to avoid was the creation of a method of access that circumvented their security features, a necessary feature which they claim was vital to protecting YOUR information. And to prove it, the company appeared to be going out of it's way to do so. It was a good, if not great PR stance for a luxury brand. Now, they know their phone and its vaunted encryption system has a hole in it, but now they don't know where that hole is. And everybody else knows it. This would the opposite of a great, or maybe just good, PR move.

Had Apple cooperated, they could have created a "hole"for the government to use and then fixed it, with the message being now not even we can get into the next generation. This would have maintained the illusion Apple has of always being one step ahead. Okay, I don't believe that, but the Apple fan boys do. And that is their bread and butter. Instead, they're now have to ask the very people they refused to help to help them fix their own product.

How much money is Apple hiding offshore to avoid having to pay taxes on it?


And while the unsettled privacy issue caused by advances in technology remains unanswered for now, and hopefully will end up attached to something much more mundane, it's kind of funny. I can almost hear it in my head. A government agent with a deep Southern drawl explaining their position on telling them how they cracked the phone. "Sounds to me like you fellas have a bit of ah, what you call it, encryption problem. Yep, to bad the U.S. government would completely wrong to help you out, I mean proprietary systems and all that. Government top secrets. That kinda thing. Can't have Apple talking about closing back doors."

Barkeep. An apple martini. Did you know I used to make these?

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