Anna Gragert
February 17, 2016 5:41 pm
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If you’ve scrolled through your Facebook timeline recently, you most likely noticed this Apple headline being shared all over the place: “A Message to Our Customers.” Once you click on the link, you’re then taken to a lengthy letter that can be a bit confusing.

So, why is everyone talkig about this letter? What exactly is the message that’s being conveyed to Apple’s customers?

Let’s break it down, shall we?

1. Apple has been helping the FBI solve the San Bernardino Case. 

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After the horrific terrorist attack occurred last December, the FBI reached out to Apple’s engineers to uncover data related to the crime. All along, Apple abided by search warrants and subpoenas – which they always do when they’re involved in an investigation.

“We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good,” Apple’s CEO Tim Cook writes. “Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them.”

2. The United States government is now asking them to build a backdoor to the iPhone. 

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For the above case, the U.S. government wants Apple to create a new iPhone operating system, one that would allow them to avoid security features. At the moment, this technology does not exist because it would act as a key that unlocks all iPhones. If this were to get in the wrong hands, privacy invasion would be rampant.

“The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone,” Cook explains, adding, “But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices.” It would basically be disastrous and irreparable.

3. No one has access to our data (as of right now) because of encryption. 

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Apple is upset over the FBI’s request because of privacy. After all, we use our smartphones to store an incredible amount of personal info. This information is encrypted to protect us and keep our data safe. According to Cook, even Apple doesn’t have access to these particulars:

4. The FBI intends to use the All Writs Act of 1789 to get the job done. 

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The All Writs Act states that the U.S. Supreme Court and all courts created by Congress can issue a written command to help them accomplish a goal. However, these commands must follow the law.

Using the above act, the FBI wants to essentially “unlock an iPhone by ‘brute force,’ trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.” This, in turn, would give this agency the power to unlock our own iPhones, which means they can track our location, access our phone’s mic or camera, check our messages, and obtain any info we have on our devices.

5. Apple is 100% opposed to this. 

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While the company does believe that the FBI has the best of intentions, they want to protect their customers. Ultimately, they feel this request is “an overreach by the U.S. government” and that it would “undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”

According to Cook, cryptologists and national security experts have been speaking out against the weakening of encryption for many years. Apple stands with them and wants to retain their users’ trust.

6. Overall, Tim Cook wants to start a public discussion. 

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Tim Cook wants to start a conversation about this issue. He states, “This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.” In other words, he aims to be transparent about a matter that could potentially affect anyone with an iPhone in their possession. And we appreciate it.

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