Lost in the hype over Apple’s latest – and most expensive – version of its iPhone is an update that hasn’t received much attention yet but is sure to inflame the already contentious relationship between the company and law enforcement.
Much has been written about Apple’s reluctance to unlock the phones of suspected terrorists; the company claims that not even they can extract encrypted data; law enforcement believes otherwise. The new iPhone adds to the difficulty in retrieving a phone’s contents in two important ways.
First, Apple has added an additional step to the process of moving a phone’s contents to a forensic analyst’s desktop computer, reducing the amount of data police can access even if a phone is in an unlocked state. Next, new passcode requirements may change the iPhone’s security during a border crossing and make the jobs of Customs and Border Protection agents more difficult.
Of course, these changes add value in the minds of the consumer, making the $1000 price tag more palatable. For law enforcement, it’s just another headache.
We’re left wondering: If Apple can produce an impenetrable phone, why can’t credit reporting agencies secure personal information? That would be an value-added service we could all support.