Commentary

What The FBI's Hack Job Means For Apple

“Thanks -- we’re good.” After months of battling Apple, that’s basically what the feds just told the tech giant. According to a new court filing, the FBI successfully broke into the San Bernardino shooters’ iPhone without Apple’s help.

“The government … no longer requires the assistance from Apple,” the filing notes.

So what now?

Well, if you believe critics who think Apple was simply using the case to build its brand, then you might call it a win for everyone.

Apple -- and especially CEO Tim Cook -- appear righteous for standing up to “the man”; the media got its story; and the FBI got its data.

Of course, it’s not that simple.

Because Apple and the Department of Justice failed to resolve their disagreement, it leaves open the likelihood of similar court challenges on the matters of cyber-security and encryption. In fact, there are currently at least a dozen similar legal fights open against Apple, The Guardian estimates.

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As for consumers, well, that all depends on their idea of privacy rights and expectations.

Some commentators suggest that this latest development makes Apple look weak in the eyes of the public. Yet my sense is that most people simply appreciate the company’s efforts to protect their data.

Just because the government (reportedly with the help of a third party) can hack into an iPhone, I don’t think most folks will conclude that their personal data is unsecure or at risk.

I also think most people would concede that there are certain cases in which the feds should have the right to seize personal data.

To find out whether or not the courts share that sentiment, we’ll just have to wait for the next case.

15 comments about "What The FBI's Hack Job Means For Apple".
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  1. Neil Mahoney from Mahoney/Marketing, March 29, 2016 at 2:41 p.m.

    Apple's refusal to help the US find the terrorists was & is reprehensible.  I know they did it for PR reasons and PR only.  To me, they didn't enhance their brand, they stained it.

    What'll you bet: they soon will go to court to force the US to tell them how they broke the code.  Note to Apple:  You're reprehensible.  I'll never buy your products.  Neil Mahoney

  2. Neil Mahoney from Mahoney/Marketing, March 29, 2016 at 2:45 p.m.

    PS to Gavin O'Malley: You're as bad as Apple -- a really bad apple.

  3. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, March 29, 2016 at 3:05 p.m.

    Neil do the 1st Amendment and 2nd Amendment mean anything to you?

    Why are you not questioning the laws that allow Terrorists to purchase assault rifles and vast quatities of ammo? 

    Let's face it the FBI fumbled from the get go....

    Neil do you even know the difference bewteen NAND mirroring and havinbg a backdoor software key???

  4. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, March 29, 2016 at 3:09 p.m.

    Apple should have foreseen this outcome. By playing their "we're one of the very few all-powerful above-the-law companies who will make the rules" card, they opened the door to the FBI's apparently successful flanking maneuver. They simply found their own way to get in. 

    So now, thanks to Apple's short-sightedness, they missed their only opportunity to keep all their secrets under one small tent, with only themselves and the FBI involved.  Instead, there is now some unknown entity out there - somewhere - used by the FBI to hack the phone. 

    In short, Apple turned what should have been a more easily controlled in-house situation into - sorry - something that smells like an out-house mess.  

  5. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, March 29, 2016 at 3:10 p.m.

    PS:  Hey, MediaPost, ...wtf?!  A POP-UP ad?  C'mon, ... you're better than that. 

  6. Stewart Wills from stewartwills.com, March 30, 2016 at 7:17 a.m.

    "My sense is that most people simply appreciate the company’s efforts to protect their data."

    Actually, a majority of Americans, according to Pew Research, sided with the Justice Department, not Apple: http://www.people-press.org/2016/02/22/more-support-for-justice-department-than-for-apple-in-dispute-over-unlocking-iphone/


  7. Neil Mahoney from Mahoney/Marketing replied, March 30, 2016 at 8:26 a.m.

    No Leonard I don't know the difference.  I'm not a software geek, but I do know know the difference between right & wrong.  Have you ever heard about providing aid & comfort to the enemy?

    FYI, Lennie, the 2nd Amendment refers to firearms, and the right of American citizens to carry them.  The 1st Amendment protects free speech, not withholding information that protects criminals -- unless you're talking about the "seal of the confessional."

  8. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 30, 2016 at 8:38 a.m.

    FBI jumped the gun. They made themselves look inept. If they can get it open now...this is the FBI, not a local police station.. then the jump on Apple was more like something personal. 

  9. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, March 30, 2016 at 6:40 p.m.

    I agree with Paula. There's something odd about a federal agency forcing a major American company into an ethical corner, and then pulling back without even a hint of an apology, or at least some sort of "we understand Apple's quandry" public comment. 

  10. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, March 30, 2016 at 6:42 p.m.

    I agree with Paula. There's something odd about a federal agency forcing a major American company into an ethical corner, and then pulling back without even a hint of an apology, or at least some sort of "we understand Apple's quandry" public comment. T

  11. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, March 30, 2016 at 6:43 p.m.

    Sorry about the double post. What can I say?  I sent it with an Apple phone. 

  12. Marla Goldstein from Around The Bend Media, March 30, 2016 at 11:21 p.m.

    I would have been more inclined to side with Apple and their posturing as being on the side of the little guy, protecting personal privacy, yada yada yada but for one thing.

    The phone in question did not belong to Farook. It was the property of the City of San Bernardino. There is long-settled case law that when an individual uses employer-owned electronics, there is no expectation of privacy. The phone wasn't Farook;s; the legal owner of the phone wanted it breached. The First Amendment shouldn't come into play at all, it's the Fourth that would apply--the one that deal with illegal search and seizure. But that's moot, anyway, since the legal owner of the phone was OK with it being opened.

    Now, had the phone in question actually belonged to Farook, I would feel much more differently. But it didn't.

  13. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network, March 31, 2016 at 4:51 p.m.

    Marla:  thanks for that info about the phone's ownership.  I managed to miss that very important point in this whole saga. 

  14. Mark Mellynchuk from BDC Inc, April 1, 2016 at 5:13 p.m.

    Marla / Chuck -  I don't think the Fourth Amendment comes into play here; since the user of the phone was involved in criminal acts, any search/seizure of the phone’s contents would certainly not be deemed “unreasonable”.  As I understand it, this was never Apple’s argument.  Apple’s feeling was that once the software was developed to hack into Farook’s phone, the “genie would be out of the bottle” so to speak – they could no longer guarantee that this software could not be duplicated and used to hack any phone using that operating system.


     


     


    So in a broad sense this was never a question of individual rights, but rather whether the government has the right to compel a corporation to compromise the integrity of its product in the name of national security.  Apple couched it in terms of security of one’s personal information as part of their appeal to get the public on their side.

  15. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 2, 2016 at 6:22 p.m.

    It is not about who owned the phone. That simple. 

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