In the latest accusation from the US Attorney General against Apple and other major tech companies, today William Barr alleged a number of American companies are “all too willing to collaborate” with China. In particular, Barr accused Apple of making it easier for China to crack iPhone encryption to be able to keep doing business there.
Reported by Reuters, AG Barr made the comments condemning Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and others for “being too willing to take steps to ensure access to the large Chinese market.”
Speaking specifically about Apple, he brought up device encryption and suggested that iPhones are intentionally kept crackable for the Chinese government so Apple can continue to do business in the country and said he believes there is a “double standard.”
Barr suggested that Apple iPhones “wouldn’t be sold (in China) if they were impervious to penetration by Chinese authorities.” He suggested American tech companies were imposing a “double standard.”
He’s referring to Apple not being on board with creating a backdoor for the FBI (or any government) to gain access to iPhones but insinuates that Apple is helping (or not preventing) China from breaking into devices more than at home in the US. As Apple has repeated for years, there’s no way to create a backdoor into its devices without making it available to criminals, making iPhones a security and privacy risk for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that all iPhone models and all software versions are impervious to attacks and flaws.
The most recent case was the Pensacola shooting where the perpetrator had been using two old iPhones. Apple gave the FBI all the data it had outside of creating a backdoor to break the passcodes, but Barr wasn’t satisfied. Notably, there have been known ways to crack older iPhones like the ones in the Pensacola case for years and the FBI dragged its feet in doing so.
Even shortly after the iPhone 11 debuted, there were third-parties that had successfully broken into the device. This highlights the fact that device security isn’t static, it’s a dynamic ever-evolving cat and mouse game where Apple tries to stay one step ahead of hackers in keeping its devices secure. There is no device of any kind that is “impervious” to being penetrated. It’s an ebb and flow of new software and hardware releases with new safeguards vs. those constantly looking for flaws to exploit.
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