Security Pros Offer Opinions, Solutions for FBI vs. Apple

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2016-02-22 Print this article Print

Ron Heinz, managing partner, Signal Peak Ventures:

A1: While this is indeed a polarizing issue, I believe that both the technology industry and the intelligence community can and must drive to a satisfactory middle ground. Most technology companies today build products that safeguard end-user's data but also allow law enforcement teams access to data based on bona fide legal orders. I am a strong advocate of this middle-ground approach and believe it strikes the right balance of providing government access, while respecting both user privacy and integrity of the source code. Think of this as the equivalent of an electronic search warrant—very analogous to a physical warrant—and let's move forward.

Kris Lahiri, co-founder and CSO at Egnyte:

A1: As chief security officer at Egnyte, I place a heavy emphasis on the importance of both security and privacy. In regards to the issue between the FBI and Apple, we are in firm agreement with Apple's stance to deny the FBI's request for creating a backdoor into the device. Should Apple choose to comply, it would not only set a terrible precedent for any legal matters moving forward; it would undermine all of the advancements tech has made in protecting customers' data privacy and data security. Any kind of backdoor, or bypass, of Apple's security protocol would create additional vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.

A2: The simple solution here would be for the FBI to find an alternative way to obtain the information necessary in order for justice to be served—one that would still protect the Fourth Amendment rights of the parties involved. The current proposed solution of providing the FBI infinite attempts to unlock the phone is not a viable option, as the FBI would be able to break into the device in less than 30 minutes, violating any right to privacy. Any mandate to bypass the encryption technology in place would be a major setback technologically, legally and ethically.

A3: While I cannot speculate on Apple's abilities, I would assume they do have the ability to extract the data and hand it over to the FBI, without creating a backdoor for the FBI to use as they please. However, at this point, Apple would be sending a terrible message that they do not care about the privacy of their customers. Moving forward, that would be a nightmare situation for their business: broken trust with their customer base, stain on their brand, potential decline in sales, etc. In my opinion, the best thing Apple can do is to continue to stay transparent with the public and stand tall in their efforts to protect customers' right to data privacy.

Ridgely Evers, founder and CEO, Trustpipe:

A1: (I am) unambiguously behind Apple, because they are standing up for their customers as well as their principles. Both Apple and Google have pledged to their customers that user data belongs to the user, and sacrosanct. And they’ve gone to considerable lengths to make sure that, as vendors, they no longer have the ability to violate that promise.

It is unreasonable for the government to attempt to retroactively change that commitment.

A2: And, I believe, it is also unwise; it is not in the country's best interests to be able to co-opt hardware or software producers. It violates the trust between vendor and customer and significantly impedes their ability to do business internationally.


We're merely in the early stages of decisions, discussions, discovery and dissemination of information in this case, one that is destined for law libraries, civics classes and, very likely, a museum.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz


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