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Apple 'should not compromise policy’

IT professionals in Dubai believe unlocking the iPhone will put millions of users at risk

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Gulf News

Dubai: Apple should ensure user security and decline the FBI’s request to ‘unlock’ the iphone, professionals working in the tech nology industry in Dubai said.

The Apple versus FBI dispute started earlier this year when the tech giant refused to cooperate with the FBI to help ‘unlock’ the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, who killed 14 people in December — despite a court order.

The FBI did not request Apple to provide them with the information on the phone, instead they want Apple to create and install a special version of the phone’s operating software, which will enable them to make as many password guesses as they like to unlock the phone.

The FBI promises that this software will only be used once, however Apple’s concern is that the same code, once written, could be used to crack open any other iPhone creating a ‘security risk’ for its customers.

Professionals interviewed by Gulf News believed that while the terrorist attack which resulted in the death of 14 innocent people, Apple should not comply with the FBI’s request as it would threaten the security and privacy of millions of Apple users.

Professionals interviewed by Gulf News believe that if Apple complies with the FBI’s request, it would threaten the security and privacy of millions of Apple users.

Chris N. Fernando, managing editor of PC Magazine, Middle East, said Apple should not jeopardise security when the FBI can hack the phone and get the information. “I don’t think Apple should comply with the FBI’s request even if a warrant is issued because they have a privacy policy for users and the terms and conditions say that the iPhone can’t be ‘unlocked’ so if they do comply with the FBI they are letting their customers down,” he said.

Fernando said the FBI has the right to investigate, but should not force a company to breach its policy as this is a breach of freedom of speech. “If Apple complies, the FBI will be able to use the software more than once and if it falls into the wrong hands, the security of businesses and individuals may be at risk,” he said.

Fadi Aloul, professor of computer science and engineering at the American University of Sharjah, said that by making such a software, Apple will be changing its security policy which it promised its users and this can lead to business implications.

“If this tool already existed and Apple’s users are aware of it then I believe that they should comply with the FBI’s request. But this is not the case,” he said.

Aloul said, however, that even if such a software already existed it should be controlled and monitored by authorities and only be used in cases of dire need where solid proof showed that the person is for example a terrorist that killed innocent people.

Samir E, owner of an IT company in Dubai, also believes that the security of millions of people should not be put at risk because of one case no matter how bad and painful the crime was.

“If there is a way to provide the FBI with the information they need without jeopardising the privacy and business of millions of people then I believe apple should do so, but only for individual cases. But if Apple has to create a software that did not exist before and that can not only ruin their business put other business and individuals at risk of security and privacy breach, then they should not,” he said.

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