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Apple vs. the FBI: An easy explanationA judge has ordered Apple to crack into an iPhone for law enforcement, but this could affect the future of cybersecurity for everyone. Bridget Carey breaks down the issue in under three minutes.
A historic battle for the future of cybersecurity is waging between Silicon Valley and law enforcement. I'm Bridget Carey. This is your CNET update. [MUSIC] The future of your privacy and the security of all software now rests in the fate of a legal battle between Apple and the FBI. On the surface the issue may sound simple. Apple has been ordered by a judge to help the government break into a locked iPhone for an investigation. And Apple is refusing. But before you jump to conclusions, here's a quick breakdown of what exactly the government is asking for and how encryption works. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is trying to access the locked iPhone 5c that belongs to Syed Farook. He's the shooter in the San Bernardino terrorist attack from December that killed 14 people. But there's a passcode on the iPhone and if the FBI guesses the wrong passcode ten times everything on the iPhone is wiped. So the FBI makes a request to a judge, please order Apple to write a new piece of software to load into the phone so the FBI can try an unlimited number of passcodes to get into the phone About the data being all erased. A California federal magistrate judge then makes the order for Apple to comply, essentially asking Apple to cut a security hole into it's iPhone software. But, Apple is refusing and appealing the decision. CEO Tim Cook issued a statement arguing that this would undermine the security of all future iPhones. So, why won't Apple just make an exception for this one terrorism case? Well, security experts all say the same thing. If such a backdoor exists, if software to hack an iPhone exists, then it could be used again and again by the government for anything, and more importantly, software can be easily copied and sold and then anyone can use it to hack into your phone. Security then becomes pointless for all of us going forward. And that is why this is so controversial. If you want to stop a terrorist, you break all means to protect everyone from any type of hacker as well. This is not just an Apple issue. Other tech companies want customers to trust their data to be protected. The head of Google Products, Sundar Pichai, offered somewhat tame words of support to Apple. Saying on Twitter that forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users' privacy. So what happens now? Apple says it's gonna fight this legally. It could go as high as the US Supreme Court. But in the meantime, a judge could, in theory, punish Apple and hold the company in contempt and impose fines. Or even through someone like Tim Cook in jail. but That's when the drama seems unlikely. That's it for this tech news update, you can dive into [UNKNOWN] at cnet.com, from our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey. [MUSIC]