Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunningham, who is also leader of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, shared his views with NECN on the big controversy over whether Apple should help the FBI infiltrate a county government-owned iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino killers in December. While Cunningham acknowledges the issue is complicated, he also comes down strongly on the side of the FBI on this one: “The FBI should have access to this phone.” He describe’s Apple’s denial thus far to cooperate as “a brilliant marketing strategy” in terms of coming out strongly in support of its customers’ privacy and he doesn’t expect CEO Tim Cook to give in easily. Though Cunningham also says he thinks that the FBI will eventually get its way, even if things go to the Supreme Court.
Apple, as you might know by know, has resisted a federal judge’s order to help the FBI extract data from the device that could be useful in investigating the mass shooting from December and possibly future plans. Apple, supported by Google and other tech companies, is concerned that giving an inch to the government when it comes to technology encryption will wind up granting them a mile or more.
Part of Apple’s concern is that any sort of backdoor opening in its technology will wind up being used by the US government (and possibly others) to crack open other encrypted iPhones or other devices. The FBI insists that it is asking Apple only to help it with this one phone for now, and that any technology developed to do so, can be destroyed immediately after. As has been reported this week, Apple is already fighting a dozen more data extraction orders.
Cunningham says there is a broader issue than this specific case at play — laws and law enforcement keeping pace with technology innovation — and cites many phones in police custody that are no doubt holding secrets that could be used to solve crimes.