Apple goofed in several ways in fight with FBI over data encryption, renowned cryptographer says – PCWorld

11 months ago Comments Off on Apple goofed in several ways in fight with FBI over data encryption, renowned cryptographer says – PCWorld

Adi Shamir, co-creator of the widely used RSA cryptographic algorithm, believes that Apple should have assisted the FBI in decrypting the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, and chosen to resist in a future situation.

That’s not because the specifics of this particular case justify the FBI’s request, but because the case itself lays the wrong “battleground” for Apple to make a stand.

During the Cryptographers’ Panel at the RSA Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Shamir said that Apple had “goofed” in several ways.

First, the company tried to put itself in a situation where it could honestly claim that it can’t recover data from iPhones, but left open a loophole that the FBI is now trying to take advantage of, he said.

Then the company decided to fight the FBI on a battleground that’s clearly in the agency’s favor: The crime was very serious and its emotional impact on the public was high, the shooters are undoubtedly guilty and they’re both dead so their constitutional rights don’t come into play, the cryptographer said.

Shamir believes that Apple should have complied with the FBI’s request in this particular situation, especially since it helped the agency recover data from other iPhones in the past, and later choose to make its stance in a different case that wouldn’t be so aligned with the FBI’s arguments against widespread, unbreakable encryption.

The company should also close the existing loophole as soon as possible, so it can honestly claim in the future that it can’t assist the FBI, he said.

He believes that any precedent that could be set now by assisting the FBI could later be invalidated through legislation passed in Congress.

Apple goofed in several ways in fight with FBI over data encryption, renowned cryptographer says – PCWorld