Apple Has Already Won. Now It Should Crack the San Bernardino iPhone
However, it’s not quite that simple. The methodology used to get into the phone is where the real value is, not the firmware itself. Once Apple develops such a tool, the “how” of getting around the PIN lock screen will be out of the bag. It could certainly be used on “jailbroken” phones, which don’t need new software to be signed. Jailbroken phones are common both in the United States, and internationally. For standard Apple phones, security going forward would rest on the hope that the new code would be impossible to get onto any other phones.
In a way, the FBI’s request is less like asking a locksmith to lend a master key for a single use and then destroying it, than it is like requesting a vault maker to make the tool to break into his own vaults. Once this tool is created, then the big question will be who else would have access to it. Even if Apple controls the tool, will it be allowed to be used for the United States government only in terrorism cases? Or will it, in a more likely situation, have to be made available to the governments of every country in which Apple operates, for use in any way those governments wish? One can imagine uses not originally planned for, like collecting data from political opponents or corporate interests.
On the other hand, if the tool does not exist, then Apple is able to avoid entering this thicket of moral and legal issues.