The San Bernardino case has been taking a toll on Apple lately, as the company is being demanded by FBI to open up one of the accused shooter’s iPhone. Apple has been refusing FBI till now, but it seems there might be some trouble ahead for the company. New reports say that if Apple does not take action as per the court order that orders it to loosen the security on the iPhone of the accused, the company might have to give the source code of the entire iOS instead.
This implication has been made by the Department of Justice in its formal legal rebuttal to the Cupertino company. Apple had made an argument that removing the major security features from the iPhone of the accused Syed Farook would require the company to write a code that would be unduly burdensome. In response to that, the department says in the footnote of the filing that:
The FBI cannot itself modify the software on Farook’s iPhone without access to the source code and Apple’s private electronic signature.
The government did not seek to compel Apple to turn those over because it believed such a request would be less palatable to Apple. If Apple would prefer that course, however, that may provide an alternative that requires less labour by Apple programmers.
But here’s the reason why Apple has been refusing to comply with it. If Apple’s private key falls in hands of the FBI, they would be able to modify the accused’s iPhone. And apart from that, the FBI would also be able to create new iOS versions and use them in various ways. The organization would be able to send out fake updates to any phone and get total surveillance on it, thus putting the privacy of all iOS users at risk. Let’s see what Apple does next.