By Katie Kieffer
Obama’s order for Apple to let him hack your iPhone is not about fighting terror—it’s about iPhone dominion. This is the equivalent of gun control except in the tech sector. Terrorism is one of the top two issues concerning Americans, including Millennials. You deserve to know why and how Obama’s attack on Apple’s encryption technology threatens your safety.
A “marketing strategy” to enhance its “brand” is how Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) painted Apple’s refusal to comply with its order to create a backdoor into all iPhones for the FBI last week. Obama’s DOJ was sending the not-so-subtle message: Apple won’t help us crack the iPhone 5c used by a San Bernardino terrorist because Apple is a greedy capitalistic pig that values profits over patriotism!
I’m calling Obama’s bluff. If Apple loses this case, it won’t just impact iPhone users. Google and Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, will also be pressured to weaken their encrypted technology. Today I’ll explain the technical details plus the national security ramifications of siding with Apple—or Obama. Then, you decide.
Mass confusion has erupted on TV and social media. Cleverly, Obama asked the FBI and DOJ to do his dirty work and deliver his order to Apple. He knows that while millions of Americans have lost faith in him, they still trust the FBI.
We need not blame the messenger, the FBI. If Ronald Reagan were president, the FBI would not be making this move. As president, Obama essentially directs the FBI. Unfortunately, he is no technology or security expert.
What Obama is Asking Apple To Do
Publicly, the administration claims they want Apple to give them the ability to decrypt the phone of a San Bernardino terrorist—and future terror suspects. That sounds like a cause we can embrace. Until we read the fine print.
Apple has done this for the FBI 70 times before!! Why can’t they do it now? Or so you’ve heard on the news. Apple has not done THIS before. Ever. This is new.
You see, in the past 70 instances when Apple helped the FBI find information on iPhones, it did so without unlocking the phones. This could be done if the iPhone owner did not lock their phone (protect it with a passcode). Or, if the phone was locked, Apple could obtain information from the phone if it were an iPhone 5c or lower—and running an outdated version of the mobile operating system iOS (specifically, iOS 7 or lower).
But on newer iPhones (5S, 6 and 6S) running later versions of iOS, this sort of hacking is impossible. Apple will never unlock a customer’s phone and Apple’s latest technology is so secure that Apple itself essentially cannot decrypt it. Apple would have to build a back door. Once built, the information on your iPhone would no longer truly be encrypted.
“The FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system… this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession,” Apple explains.
Rush Limbaugh put it this way on his talk show last Friday: “The real question is: ‘Do you like the fact that the government can’t read your e-mails?’ … If you like that, then you need to support Apple. They’re the ones trying to keep people out of your phone.”
Why Decrypting iPhones Will Help—Not Hinder—ISIS
ISIS militants do not rely on iMessage (Apple’s encrypted messaging app) to communicate. Nor do they rely on Facebook’s WhatsApp. “Of the top five encryption apps recommended by the Islamic State, none are American-made,” the New York Times reported in December. To connect, terrorists will always “write new encrypted apps, or use different ones—like those made in Switzerland or Russia,” reports TIME.
Experts in this field (cryptographers) say that if Apple does what the FBI requests, you and I will be more vulnerable to hackers. Once a hacker cracks the back door—ta da!—they have the key to all iPhones. As opposed to now, where every iPhone is a unique labyrinth.
Laziness may also play a role in this request by federal law enforcement. In effect, the FBI is delegating its duties to Apple by force. When Apple declined, the Obama administration took Apple to court.
Optics matter to Obama. He appears to be fighting terrorism in this standoff. In truth, the contents of a recovered phone used by suicide bombers in the horrific November 2015 Paris attack indicate that the terrorists did NOT use encryption.
Hello, Unvetted Refugees!
For all his tough talk on terror, Obama’s actions weaken our national security. Here’s the quick list of his top “anti-terrorism” tactics:
- Fail to encrypt military and executive branch data. Then, China hacked 22 million American accounts.
- Build an ObamaCare website that cost taxpayers like you over $2 billion—that was so porous it was any hacker’s dream.
- Embolden the TSA, which has a 96% fail rate at catching weapons and explosives.
- Welcome unvetted Syrian refugees into our country despite the fact that we have clear evidence showing that at least one of the Paris suicide bombers slipped into France by feigning to be a pitiable Syrian refugee.
- Refuse to strengthen the U.S.-Mexico border and order our agents to “stand down” in the face of violent drug cartels and trespassers.
- Strengthen sanctuary cities and fight against the freedom to carry concealed after Millennial Kate Steinle was killed in a sanctuary city by a criminal illegal immigrant.
Two thirds of Millennials are worried about their security online according to a 2015 study by the American Press Institute. The stereotype of Millennials is that they willingly put their entire lives out on public display. But many Millennials use fake names online and self-censure out of fear.
If Republicans want to win over my generation of slippery swing voters, here’s a tip: side with Apple.
Your voice counts. Visit an Apple store this Tuesday, February 23 at 5:30 p.m. to rally in solidarity with Apple’s decision to defend your security. Find a rally location near you.