Apple has long been a advocate of strong on-device encryption, especially for its iPhones and iOS operating systems. This has often frustrated law enforcement agencies both in the United States and abroad, many of whom argue that the company's encryption tools and policies allow criminals to avoid catching by masking communications and securing data from investigators' hands.
In a letter to the Australian government, Apple says that it seems encryption is an advantage and public good that will only strengthen our protection against cyber attacks and terrorism. In Apple's eyes, encryption makes the alliance's devices harder to hack and less prone to hacking, viruses and other malicious attacks that can undermine personal and company security, as well as public infrastructure and services. Apple reacts specifically to the Australian Parliament's assistance and access bill, introduced late last month, and is designed to help the government facilitate access to the devices and data for criminals during active surveys.
"The devices you have contain not only personal e-mails, health information and images, but are also wires for businesses, infrastructure, and other critical services. Vital infrastructure – like mains and transport hubs – becomes more vulnerable when some devices are hacked , "reads the letter, which is available online on a website hosting the Australian Parliament. "Criminals and terrorists who want to infiltrate systems and interfere with sensitive networks can start their attacks by accessing only one person's smartphone. In dealing with these threats, this is not time to weaken encryption. There is a deep risk of doing criminal jobs easier, no more difficult. Increasingly stronger – not weaker – encryption is the best way to protect against these threats. "
Part of the Assistance and Access Bill would involve" setting up frameworks "for telecommunications and technology industries in ongoing investigations such as involves encrypted data and devices. The bill also requires stronger search guarantees and "modern digital warrants", which means that warrants require companies to circumvent encryption or use backdoors and other methods to provide public authorities with easier access to on-device and cloud data.
Apple does not condemn the bill directly in this case. However, it is the case that "the draft legislation remains dangerously ambiguous in terms of encryption and security." Apple's letter requires less ambiguous language and a "fixed mandate that prohibits weakening of encryption or security." There is also point to point in criticizing six key issues that the company says it is identified in the bill that it will clarify. These include "overly" governmental forces that can impair security and encryption; lack of judicial supervision technical requirements based on the government's "professional view reasonably and practically possible"; what Apple calls "unprecedented listening requirements"; The security mandates Apple believes is "unnecessarily suffocating"; and a global reach that can affect companies, citizens and communities far beyond Australia.
Since Apple's long appearance with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation started in 2016 over the unlocking of the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, the company has played its commitment to users' privacy and security and its determination to go to court to prevent even well-meaning law enforcement agencies Provides over-wide access or tools that can undermine encryption. Apple's argument has historically been that these tools, although they can only be created to help governments, could fall into the wrong hands and weaken security and privacy around the world. The company reassert this perception in the letter to the Australian Parliament, writes: "Future software innovations will depend on the basis of strong device security. In order to enable these protection to be weakened in some way, we reduce the pace of progress and endanger all. "
Here is the letter in its entirety: