The FBI could be staring at another undesirable situation even if it wins the case against Apple, that of the iOS engineers actually refusing to create the govtOS.
The Apple vs. FBI court case seems to be getting murkier by the day with reports of the actual people within Apple capable of complying with the government’s wishes might eventually refuse to do so.
That such a scenario will add a whole new twist to the case is almost a certainty though unfortunately, things might eventually boil down to that indeed. While Apple has already made its intentions known, and in the clearest possible terms, that while they do value security, that in no way can be at the cost of privacy of its users.
To put that in other terms, Apple has made it known they won’t be doing any kind of thing that the FBI wants to let the sleuths have access to what is stored in the iPhone 5c belonging to the prime accused in the Sam Bernardino terror attack case that had led to death of 16 last December.
Apple has said that entails are writing new codes all over again to create, what it has termed as “govtOS.” And Apple’s resolve to not to do that not only has its roots in its core values but it also draws upon strong commitment of the actual iOS engineers towards transparency and respect for the privacy of its users among other things.
In fact, such is the engineer’s commitment towards the security of iOS they have developed that the government fears they might outright refuse to comply with the court order even if the court rules in favor of the FBI. A New York Times report based on actual inputs from several former and serving Apple engineers does point to such a scenario. Some are believed to be even considering quitting their high-paying jobs at Apple rather than compromise the security of iOS platform they have developed.
That, in turn, will lead to an even more undesirable scenario, of Apple being forced to work on govtOS but does not having the manpower to pull that off. The fact that it is a small group of engineers within Apple that number around a dozen that can actually code the govtOS can put Apple in a tricky situation – being forced to write the code to bypass the security of iOS but does not have the men who can actually do it.
Apple has earlier stated it would take about 6 – 10 engineers around a month to the iPhone 5c what the FBI wishes them to do.
In any case, the FBI might have landed itself in a court case far from complex than they might have initially envisioned. Apple already has the support of almost all of the biggest tech houses in America. That the government had embarked on the now infamous surveillance scandal a few years back only to be exposed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden is not helping it either.