Apple is reportedly working on new security measures for the iPhone that would make the device even more difficult for government and law enforcement agencies to unlock.
According to a story published Wednesday in the New York Times, the tech company is developing the new security measures as a result of its ongoing legal case with the FBI, which wants the company’s help in bypassing a lock on an iPhone used by one of the shooters responsible for last fall’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.
Last week, a federal court ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock an iPhone linked to the mass shooting that killed 14 people in December. Apple has argued that complying with the order would force it to create programming that could allow the U.S. government or others to peek on anyone’s private digital data beyond the scope of the San Bernardino terrorism case.
Apple’s effort to ratchet up the impenetrability of its devices would mean that it is doubling down on its encryption principle: Only make devices that even the creator cannot hack.
Encyrption scrambles all the data on a device so anyone without the passcode key to the gadget only sees incomprehensible jibberish. Apple and Alphabet’s Google, which operate the two systems running the vast majority’s of the planet’s smartphones, took steps two years ago to better protect all that information. They developed new versions of their software that can automatically encrypt data and have been installing measures to prevent people who don’t know a device’s unique passcode from guessing it.
The FBI and DOJ have asked Apple to create programming that would allow them to bypass those protections, which is at the heart of the standoff over the San Bernardino phone.
That Apple is working to create a phone that could accommodate any backdoor access means that the company could trump the government’s goals, even if it loses the court fight.