Monday, March 14, 2016

My View of the Apple Encryption Controversy

Posted more than two years ago.

An earlier version.

And a still earlier one.


Roger said...

The current Apple dispute has very little to do with strong encryption and privacy. Apple has engineered a backdoor into its phone, and it refuses to allow the customer to release info about terrorist contacts.

Matthew Munoz said...


It'd be more accurate to say that the FBI wants to compel Apple engineers to create such a backdoor, in the form of a new operating system.

But I guess you could still argue it's not about strong encryption since if the FBI thinks Apple can do it, the encryption can't be too strong.

Roger said...

Saying "new operating system" is an exaggeration. Apple has already built in the ability to update the OS with a signature that limits the update to one phone only. The FBI just wants an update, specific to one phone, that disables a couple of security features. In particular, it wants no artificial delay for repeated PIN guesses. Apple just has to change a couple of lines and recompile.

Matthew Munoz said...

That's true, I didn't mean to imply Apple would be rewriting everything from scratch. But I also wouldn't describe the ability to remove a security feature by excising it from the code as a "backdoor" that Apple engineered.

But again, you're right about the encryption. If it can be bruteforced it's not being protected by "the laws of mathematics", as I think Prof. Friedman put it in one of his books.