Apple vs. FBI: Here’s One Fact the Press Got Totally Wrong – Fortune

Is Tim Cook making a mountain from a molehill?

That’s the implication behind a story that appeared in the Daily Beast Wednesday and was eagerly selected up by news outlets large and small. It claimed that Apple has actually unlocked iPhones for law enforcement dozens of times before—performing on a schedule basis just what it now so publicly refuses to do.

So kudos to Techcrunch’s Matthew Panzarino for taking the moment to dismantle this meme, piece by piece, in No, Apple has actually Not Unlocked 70 iPhones For Law Enforcement.

Subscribe to Data Sheet, Fortune’s Everyday tech newsletter.

At the heart of the misunderstanding is the distinction in between extracting data from an iPhone free of unlocking it, which Apple


was able to do prior to iOS 8, and building a device for the FBI to crack a locked iPhone. It’s a subtle however important distinction. (Note the correction at the bottom of the front page story in today’s New York Times.)

What’s interesting to me is exactly how quick some reporters were to choose up an angle that earned Apple—and its defense of durable cryptography—not simply wrong, however hypocritical.

Which reporters? Listed here they are:

  • Shane Harris, The Everyday Beast: Apple Unlocked iPhones for the Feds 70 Times Before. “A 2015 court case shows that the tech giant has actually been willing to play ball along with the government before—and is just stopping now due to the fact that it may ‘tarnish the Apple brand.’”
  • Tyler Durden, Zerohedge: Is It every one of simply A Publicity Stunt: Apple Unlocked iPhones For The Feds 70 Times Before. “A quick peek beneath the surface reveals something much much less noble and makes Tim Cook appear adore you average, if fairly cunning, smartphone salesman.”
  • Bonnie Kristian, The Week: Apple has actually in fact unlocked iPhones for law enforcement 70 times. “…perhaps the tech giant’s stand isn’t pretty as principled as it seems.”
  • Nicky Cappella, The Stack: Apple cracked iPhones 70 times previously. “…best to questions of whether their current stance is a matter of principled user privacy, or an opportunity for favorable public relations.”
  • Jessica Renae Buxbaum, Carbonated.TV: Apple Unlocked 70 iPhones prior to So Why The Refusal Now? “Apple — keenly attune to the public sentiment — is thereby manipulating their image to portray themselves as a crusader for privacy rights as opposed to a sly government pawn.”


For a lot more on Apple, watch our video:

Harris’ piece in the Everyday Beast attributes the 70 iPhones figure to “prosecutors.” Asked for his source, Harris pointed to court records and transcripts from a 2015 case involving a Brooklyn meth dealer along with an iPhone operating iOS 7. In a contemporaneous report in Motherboard, an assistant U.S. attorney is quoted saying Apple “has actually never ever objected” and “has actually complied” along with a minimum of 70 comparable requests. That’s not the exact same as saying Apple did in the past just what it now refuses to do.

“It’s vital to get hold of this stuff right,” writes Panzarino. “The press has actually the ability not just to act as a translator however likewise as an obfuscator. If they get hold of it and they’re able to deliver that post clearly and along with right perspective, the conversation is elevated, the public is informed and sometimes it also alters the road of policy-making for the better.”

Hear, hear.

Subscribe to receive free email updates:

0 Response to "Apple vs. FBI: Here’s One Fact the Press Got Totally Wrong – Fortune"