FBI vs Apple

Experts at Syracuse University are available to speak about issues of information security surrounding the case of the FBI ordering Apple to unlock the phone of the San Bernardino shooter.

mcknight90Lee Mcknight is an associate professor at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, inventor of edgeware, a new class of software for creating secure ad hoc overlay cloud to edge applications, and teaches information and security policy

"This case is a worst case scenario for Apple, since there is no question about the deeds committed by its now deceased owner; and a best case scenario for federal authorities arguing technology firms must offer greater assistance to law enforcement in unraveling encrypted communications. But it is not a 'backdoor' case as Apple CEO Tim Cook disingenuously claims; law enforcement wants to come in through the front door with Apple's technical assistance to prevent the phone from wiping all data if they guess wrong a few times before hitting on the code to unlock the phone and access the data.
The real policy question is what would Apple's cooperation in this case set as a precedent, if they cooperated. The economic questions is how would Apple's cooperation with US authorities in this case affect sales in for example, China; whether of Apple or any other US technology company which could be suspected of essentially offering US authorities unfettered access to encrypted communications. With the judge's order in one hand, Apple with the other is signaling to – other governments – and consumers that it will not compromise their communications willingly."

du2007Wenliang (Kevin) Du is a professor of cybersecurity specializing in mobile security and cybersecurity education in Syracuse University's College of Engineering and Computer Science.

"From technology perspective, it is doable, the question is whether it is the right thing to do or not. This is not the first time that the US government and industry has had this kind of conflict. When the first encryption standard (DES) was first developed, there was a fight between the government and people who developed the technologies. Eventually the government won, but DES was doomed ever since it was born. The US government also imposed 40-bit rule on the length of encryption key for software product sold to other countries, so government can break the code. That hurt the software industry, and eventually that rule was abolished. Government wants back door access, but nobody can prevent the government from abusing the power on good citizens."

For more information, please contact Ellen James Mbuqe, Director of News and Public Relations for Syracuse University, at ejmbuqe@syr.edu or 412.496.0551.

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