The NSA has shot itself in the foot. Not only have many people in the security community refused to cooperate with them anymore, some very smart folks have chosen to actively try to make NSA's life more difficult.And now to current news: Apple's software engineers don't want to work with the FBI:
Me, I don't expect that NSA can possibly reform itself, and likely it will double down on its counter productive domestic snooping. That will keep pouring gasoline on this fire, leading to even less cooperation and even more active monkey wrenching.
Apple's refusal to build a crippled iOS that will help the FBI unlock a killer's iPhone goes far beyond the executive suite. Some of Cupertino's own engineers are refusing to work on the operating system in case they are forced to aid the US government.
Register sources familiar with the matter told us that, since the start of the iGiant legal showdown with the Feds in early February, Apple developers have been reluctant to work on certain iOS projects and engineering assignments for fear of being summoned by the FBI and forced to break their own product under legal duress.
It is hard to overstate just how deeply people in the security industry feel this. There's a real pride in being the Good Guys, in fighting the Good Fight, in making the World a Better Place. The FBI is insisting that they violate that.The opposition to the FBI's demand runs so deep that some Apple engineers have even threatened to walk away from the company: The New York Times cited "current and former" employees who said members of Apple's engineering teams are prepared to quit if they are ordered to weaken iOS's security mechanisms.
Things are getting quite interesting here. Apple is in a real jam - if their very best security developers simply refuse to break the iPhone's security (which is exactly what is being asked), then if Apple cooperates they will be forced to rely on the second (or third) string engineers. The chances that some horrible security bug gets inadvertently added to the code goes way, way up. If the bug is bad enough, Apple could lose market share.
Given that the FBI can get everything they need from either the telephone companies (emails, chat messages, the iCloud backup, call records) or the NSA (who everyone thinks can break the phone anyway), Apple deserves to lose market share if they don't fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.
One thing to watch for: if Apple is serious, expect them to announce that they are considering relocating the company to a different country. They have a ton of cash in overseas banks anyway (because of the idiotic corporate tax rates), so this seemingly wouldn't be difficult.
At that point about all the FBI could do is erect a digital Berlin Wall to keep people from leaving.