Apple’s fierce defense of its encryption policies against the FBI is all too well known. Now the company has found itself at the loggerheads with the Australian government and the latter’s proposed new bill that the Cupertino company claims might undermine an individual’s privacy and security.
The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 is still being debilitated upon in the Australian parliament. Apple though believes the same if passed unchanged could make it mandatory for tech firms like itself to be legally compliant to creating the equivalent of a backdoor in iOS devices for the law enforcement agencies to access private stuff. The law targets the telecom sector and all other players in the segment including device manufacturers, software makers, service providers and such.
Proponents of the bill claim it is necessary in the digital age where even the criminals have become tech-savvy. That makes it quite necessary for the law enforcement agencies to also have some sort of access to the suspect’s devices which might provide vital leads in the investigation. With smartphone usage, or for that matter other similar gadgets such as tablets, smartwatch watches, and such, almost becoming second nature for the people at large, those often end up being extremely important for the investigators in solving a case.
Apple, in its letter to the Australian Parliament arguing against the bill, has said the bill might also end up proving counter-productive in that the same backdoor that the government envisages should be there for the law enforcement agencies to use might end up being misused by the criminals or unscrupulous govt. employees.
With iPhone or iPad used by the peoples as well as industrialists, employees and such, any unauthorized access of the backdoor will reveal all the personal emails, pictures or other data not only of the individual but also of the company he or she might be associated with. This, in turn, might pose to be a huge security risk for those engaged in security-related industries or other critical sectors like power sectors, dams, nuclear power stations and such.
It now remains to be seen if Apple has its say in the matter or the will of the Australian government prevails. The iPhone makers has previously been dragged to court by the FBI for complying with the investigator’s wishes of creating a backdoor to the iPhone used by the prime suspect in the San Bernardino terror attach case. However, the case was dropped by the FBI after it managed to hack the iPhone using third-party assistance.