Could your smartphone camera one day be turned on and used by the government for surveillance? That’s what Apple is warning the public about as it continues to battle the FBI in court.
Apple has been in a highly publicized legal battle with the FBI, which is demanding that Apple help bypass the security features of the iPhone 5C that was owned by the gunman in the 2015 San Bernardino attack. Apple has refused, saying that complying would set a dangerous precedent that could open up back doors into its popular smartphones.
In addition to permanently reducing the security of phones, it would only be a matter of time before the government forces Apple to turn on iPhone cameras and microphones to spy on people, Apple says.
“Someday they will want [Apple] to turn on [a user’s] camera or microphone,” says Apple head of services Eddy Cue in an interview with Univision. “We can’t do that now, but what if we’re forced to do that?”
“Where will this stop? In a divorce case? In an immigration case? In a tax case? Some day, someone will be able to turn on a phone’s microphone. That should not happen in this country.”
“What they want is to give them a key to the back door of your house, and we don’t have the key. Since we don’t have the key, they want us to change the lock,” Cue says as a metaphor for the ongoing dispute.
Apple and the FBI will be meeting in federal court later this month. Backing Apple in the fight is a host of notable tech companies, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter.
Image credits: Header illustration based on photo by Allen Lai