6 reasons you should support Apple’s stance on privacy

Even after Facebook showed us what happens when privacy protection is abused, the U.S. authorities are ramping up the pressure to demand back door access to iPhones. It’s a ridiculous move, and Apple seems set to protest it. There are lots of reasons why you should support the company in its attempt to prevent any dilution of device privacy:

Security matters

Apple’s vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi warns that introducing the back doors that are being demanded will inevitably make general device security systems weaker.

Digital everything

Meanwhile there’s the challenge that once you’ve invented one (or more) back doors into procu ts, then it’s way too easy for criminal elements to find those flaws and use them to steal people’s digital data. “Weakening security makes no sense when you consider that customers rely on our products to keep their personal information safe, run their businesses or even manage vital infrastructure like power grids and transportation systems,” warns Federighi.

Setting a precedent

There’s another problem: Once you create a backdoor for one government, every government will want one and Apple’s argument against providing such access will be diluted. Given at least some governments will demand their own bespoke back door and you’ll see mobile platforms ship with more security holes than the Titanic after the iceberg struck.

Upgrading chaos

When you have platforms equipped with security flaws by design, then you have a big problem sending out software updates – you simply wouldn’t be allowed to update a device to fix a vulnerability that was also being used by some state actor as a back door. That leaves security of digital devices completely broken. That may not matter to some people, but to enterprise users, infrastructure managers, medical professionals, anyone dealing with confidential information this is a very big deal. And given governments everywhere are investing deeply in digital and it’s pretty clear that they can’t rationally allow this.

Bad news travels

What happens when you have created state-level backdoors for multiple governments and the secrets leak? They may leak because some corrupt official sells them, or because a government fails, and a nation collapses politically, or because corruption or collapse impacts an ally with which a nation shares its secrets, or even because a maverick government gets elected that fails to honor existing treaties, alliances or standards of behaviour. Bit by bit, state by state, the keys to those back doors will leak, and get into the hands of rogue governments, bad actors, and criminals.

Freedom is precious

Cambridge Analytica shows what happens when bad people decide to abuse your online privacy while idiotic firms fail to protect your data. Once you have back doors in devices such problems will become both more likely to happen and harder to defend against.

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Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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1 Response

  1. March 29, 2018

    […] At the same time, users don’t want to find advertising and democracy-destroying behavior hacks following them around as they use solutions like these, which is where (I think) Apple’s principled stance on privacy puts its solutions head and shoulders above those on offer from every o… […]

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