Tomorrow, Apple is putting on its "biggest" product rollout event ever, supposedly. Rumors suggest that the new upgraded iPhone 6S will feature nifty new cameras and video software and Force Touch technology that will enable apps to access different functionalities by distinguishing between taps and hard presses. Apple is also expected to make announcements regarding a new iPad Pro and Apple TV.
Still the most significant technology that Apple and Google have provided in the last couple of years is end-to-end encryption of communnications between mobile devices. The New York Times today notes that Federal spies and law enforcement are trying to force the companies to roll back encrytion, but so far the companies are standing firm. From the Times:
In an investigation involving guns and drugs, the Justice Department obtained a court order this summer demanding that Apple turn over, in real time, text messages between suspects using iPhones.
Apple's response: Its iMessage system was encrypted and the company could not comply.
Government officials had warned for months that this type of standoff was inevitable as technology companies like Apple and Google embraced tougher encryption. The case, coming after several others in which similar requests were rebuffed, prompted some senior Justice Department and F.B.I. officials to advocate taking Apple to court, several current and former law enforcement officials said.
The Times is also reporting the Feds efforts to get Microsoft to turn over data that is stored on the company's servers in Ireland. The company makes the excellent point that if the American government can force access to data stored overseas, then the Chinese, Russian, and Saudi Arabian governments will use that precedent to demand access to information stored on servers in the U.S.
Finally, the Times observes:
"There's another attack on our civil liberties that we see heating up every day — it's the battle over encryption," Timothy D. Cook, the company's chief executive, told a conference on electronic privacy this year. "We think this is incredibly dangerous."
Echoing the arguments of industry experts, he added, "If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too." If criminals or countries "know there's a key hidden somewhere, they won't stop until they find it," he concluded.
If so, then the law needs to be changed. Ultimately, a secure internet is in the best interests of liberty.