Unlike many technology CEOs, I have NOT been on the fence regarding the request by the federal government for Apple to unlock its phone for them to access critical data regarding the atrocious crimes committed by the Jihadists in California. I have always felt that it’s the technology industry’s responsibility to protect data as much as possible in order to protect privacy and grow their companies and it is not their job to give up that data in order to assist the US Government with investigations. The reason to me is clear, if these companies compromise their relationships with customers in this way, the fiscal price they will pay will be dear, companies will die, jobs will go away and the whole tech industry will suffer.
But that doesn’t mean that the Government shouldn’t be able to hack their technology to protect this nation, after all, I am a Green Beret… and a patriot.
And now that they have, they tell the whole world about it… and now that hack is useless and I ask the question, “WHY?”
Modern warfare, or the ever changing terms for it i.e. unconventional warfare, asymmetric warfare etc, requires that we identify and leverage every advantage we can find. When our government agencies act like petulant kids and whine cause Apple or anyone else won’t give them a “back door” or free data, it bother me. There is no doubt that the data on that phone was valuable and should have been in the FBI’s possession. But instead of whining and going the easy way (and then bowing up and going to court when they didn’t get their way), what the FBI should have done is man up and use Apple’s refusal as a license to do what they should have done in the first place:
Hack the f#$% out of them…
And then shut the hell up about it.
I have said over and over, it is the Government’s role to protect us, but how do you protect a public, when you constantly advertise your successes so that a mobile, amorphous and now informed enemy does not use compromised platforms and just moves on to use technology that is ever more challenging. From IEDs, to the use of Social Media and now hacking cell phones, we have basically told the bad guys “hey man, don’t use this anymore, we are watching”. It’s frustrating and I am absolutely positive that ISIS, Al Qaeda, child molesters and more are checking the OS on their I phone and moving onto different platforms to use, systems that we now have to hack all over again. Not to mention the lives that have been lost because some military commander, politician or government official couldn’t help but brag about how we “kicked some ass”.
We have some of the best minds, largest computers, covert organizations and endless resources (as long as we keep spending our kid’s money) to identify the technologies being used and hack them. I don’t care how many brainiacs that Steve Jobs had working at Apple, they are human and they make mistakes. As I have said over and over again, where there are human beings there are flaws and Apple, Google, Microsoft, you name your technology, are no different. These technologies can be penetrated and hacked.
We didn’t ask for the keys to the Enigma code from the Nazis during WWII, don’t ask for the keys now, make your damn own and lock em up. And allow American businesses to do what they are best at, innovate, create value and dominate this industry and leave them alone.