Legal investigation vs complete privacy

Apple says it is to change the default settings of its iPhone to stop hackers and others unlocking devices without proper legal authorisation.

There are two distinct issues that need to be looked at with regard to this announcement from Apple. One is a technology issue and the other a legal and regulatory issue addressing the issue of national security and civil ethics.

On the technical issue, Apple is right to close this “backdoor”. The whole concept of a “backdoor” to allow access is not the right way to address the bigger issue of balancing national security and civil ethics.

“Backdoors” by their very nature introduce a vulnerability into the system that can be exploited for both good and bad intentions. From a security perspective, a “backdoor” is not the best practice solution to the larger challenge.

When it comes to the requirement of balancing national security and civil ethics – it is entirely appropriate, with the right legal framework, for law enforcement to have the means to gain access to communications between people intent on doing harm. As a BBC article suggests it is an absolute imperative that the police have the powers to review and intercept such communications.

The real question is how this should be facilitated and under what circumstances. The Scentrics architecture encrypts data. There is no “backdoor”. However, keys and content are always kept separate – if there is an appropriate court order, then it is a simple matter to allow the legal authorities access to the key and the data (which is not held by Scentrics)

As an industry, we need to balance the benefits of technology with our need to ensure our collective safety and security.