In the News: DRI President Weighs in on the Apple-FBI Clash

iPhone handApple and the FBI are currently locking horns over the FBI’s request to unlock a terrorist gunman’s encrypted phone. What are the potential repercussions for security? Several news outlets turned to DRI President Al Berman for his take.

Apple CEO Tim Cook believes hacking into one phone could set a dangerous precedent and expose other smartphone users to future risk. But Berman told the New York Daily News he doesn’t see it as a security landmark. “I think this is a specific incident,” he said. “This is a very specific ruling on a very specific phone.”

He added that while he sees both sides of the argument, the potential benefits for investigators can’t be ignored. “As soon as you raise the national security flag, it changes the argument,” he said.

In Voice of America, Berman points out that the FBI’s order does not force Apple to break its own encryption technologies. The court is requesting Apple’s help in deactivating the auto-erase security feature that irreversably destroys all data on the phone if the wrong passkey is entered more than 10 times.

“They’ve been very big into security; this is very consistent with their approach to security and privacy,” Berman told VOA. “Auto-erase? Invented by Apple. The ability to erase your phone remotely? Apple. I’m actually surprised that anybody thought that Tim Cook would have said anything other than what he did.”

“The real chilling effect,” Berman said, “is you may set a precedent where law enforcement will never be able to get to these locked devices. A win [for Apple] means no one would ever be able to do this again, and these things could go dark forever.”

Visit DRI’s media page for additional articles and interviews.

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