It has been something that has even been commented in general media: do you remember the controversy about the iPhone San Bernardino, with which Apple refused to unblock it so the FBI could see the data of the criminal?
Well, now we know what that agency had to spend to unblock it wit, out the help of Cupertino: $ 900,000.
It is a very high figure for the unlocking of a single iPhone, but the FBI did so in order to obtain data from the owner. The payment gave the FBI access to a third-party tool that unlocked the iPhone 5c.
For James Comey, the FBI director who just happened to be fired by Donald Trump, it was worth the expense. The information that has been taken from the phone is still confidential , and I do not think we will ever know what exactly was obtained. But has it really been worth it?
The iPhone of San Bernardino, one of many
Think of raw quantities. A year ago the Washington Post mentioned that the FBI has 200 smartphones waiting to be unlocked.
If each of them has to spend 900,000 dollars of taxpayers (although it would have to see if depending on the platform is easier or not), the investment to make is already too high and absurd if all we want is to collect data.
The number one rule of all security systems is that there is no perfect system, and although iCloud has a very good encryption it does not mean that it is not impossible to hack.
But at the same time, it is not practical that the FBI has to spend so many resources on unlocking one without needing Apple’s intervention. You can not allow a case like that of San Bernardino to be repeated several more times . Neither the FBI nor any agency from another country in the world.
In addition, the dismissal of James Comey as director of the FBI complicates things more. Now President Trump will put a new director closer to his way of doing things, and that may lead to the United States lifting tougher laws against encryption and data privacy.
Something that Apple would certainly oppose head-on if we see all the history of letters he has been sending about requests for personal data by law enforcement agencies and law enforcement.
The future right now does not look very good for that privacy, so at Apple they must already be studying how to fight to be able to continue to defend it as it has been until now.
And if the FBI wants to continue with this type of practices to unlock the iPhone, the expense will have to be very high. If they do not opt for other alternatives, very much they can not get out.