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Cyber security expert wants Apple to defy judge

Posted: 12:49 AM, Feb 19, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-19 07:24:40-05

Major tech companies, Twitter, Facebook and Google, are all siding with Apple Inc.'s plans to likely seek free-speech protection in an effort to block the FBI's request to unlock an encrypted iPhone belonging to San Bernadino shooter Syed Farook.

The issue has people on both sides of the fence talking about the rights of the federal government versus whether the feds are overstepping boundaries.

"I totally understand the FBI needs to do their homework and their investigation and find the bad guy, but you have to look at the unintended consequences of something like this," cyber security expert Stu Sjouwerman said.

Encryption and cyber security are Sjouwerman's business. He founded multiple companies specializing in the service. He said Apple's efforts to block an order to hack into an encrypted iPhone belonging to San Bernadino shooter Syed Farooks at the request of the FBI is a tough decision, but the correct one.

"Obviously they would really like to be able to send a subpoena and hack the phone anytime for anything, and as citizens we should think twice before we say yes to that," said Sjouwerman who is the CEO of KnowBe4.

In Apple's statement, CEO Tim Cook wrote that complying with the FBI would require building a backdoor to the iPhone. A backdoor that could open up your personal information from your bank accounts to tracking your every move to hackers and other that want to do users harm. It also would set a precedent that some say could lead to even more governmental intrusion.

"I think it's easy to do it now because of the case and because it's high profile," said Tampa businessman Mike McCaley. "But I think it does become a slippery slope and how far does it slide down that slope."

Thursday, Facebook called a federal judge's order that Apple comply "a chilling precedent."

The social media giant pledged to aggressively fight government efforts to weaken the security of consumer tech products.

The CEOs of Twitter and Google also chimed in with similar statements.

Meanwhile, in the Tampa Bay area, Sjouwerman said: "Apple has to some degree, made a business decision to say no, because they're protecting hundreds of millions of their customers." 

Read the Full statement from Apple here: www.apple.com/customer-letter/