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Technology Experts Address Apple's Conflict With FBI Over San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- In response to the FBI publicly demanding Apple crack the passcode on an iPhone provided to one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the tech giant's CEO, Tim Cook, released a letter explaining the company's reasons for resisting taking such a dramatic step against privacy procedures.

Jack Tomarchio, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute's Center for the Study of Terrorism and William Weaver, Professor of Science, Business and Integrated Technology at La Salle University attempted to distill what the conflict is about and why Apple is under pressure not to consent to the FBI's request.

Speaking with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, Tomarchio acknowledged the dilemma of creating a universal code to break passwords.


"This could've been done privately by some FBI and/or some Apple engineers to try and figure this out with regard to this particular phone. Certainly, the idea of opening all iPhone 5 operating systems to a master key, which would allow either the government or, if it got into the wrong hands, a hacker or a foreign government or a cyber thief to get everybody's data in their iPhone, that is a problem. I think that people do recognize that."

He repeatedly questioned why this dispute between Apple and the FBI is being played out publicly in the media.

"The FBI, maybe they've handled this a little heavy handed. Maybe they haven't been as agile or deft as they should've been. I just don't know here. But, it is very surprising that this particular issue has been aired so publicly and now we're at this standoff between Apple and their CEO Tim Cook, who's written a letter saying we're just not going to do it, we respect the right to get data and we're not harboring terrorists here, but we can't take the risk of this technology being a master key to every operating system in the universe."

Weaver explained the incentive Apple has for rejecting requests to break pass codes on phones or to make it easier to access their data.

"The technology is advancing such that we don't want to make technology that we can't possibly control in the future, but our encryption technology is advancing to such a state that even the creators that make the product, that make the technology, aren't super users. They don't have the power to dial it back. Once they reach this certain threshold, and they have with the later version of the iPhones, the iPhone 6's and even some other third party solutions. The problem with the marketing folks is it's difficult to see what exactly the FBI would gain if they go ahead and do indeed compel Apple provide this master key for these iPhones, that will bring some crazy harm to Apple as far as being able to say use our phone and people, hackers and foreign governments won't look into your phone."

He also predicted this will not be the last time an issue of such importance arises over privacy concerns

"I don't think that it's a last stand. I just think it's one of those things where we are spiraling towards some very, very advanced technology and we have to solve these things along the way."

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