McAfee: If FBI gets backdoor to people’s phones, US society will collapse

Friday, April 22, 2016
By Paul Martin
22 Apr, 2016

They said that the war never changes – but what if it does? The introduction of digital technologies, the cyberspace of the World Wide Web has introduced new battlefields. Law enforcement, drug trade, political fights and terrorism have gone online. The fight for information and access to the hidden data is raging on, both in the legal sphere, with authorities trying to tighten the grip on the digital flow, and international, with army-like hacker groups searching for the cracks in the cyber defense of nations. How far will this fight go? Who has the upper hand? And can battles in virtual reality claim real lives? We ask the cyber-expert extraordinaire – John McAfee is on Sophie&Co today.

Sophie Shevarnadze: John McAfee, cyber security expert extraordinaire, inventor, entrepreneur, creator of McAfee antivirus, welcome to the show, once again, it’s really great to have you with us. So, John, the recent Apple-FBI battle over the unlocking of encrypted Iphone of the San-Bernardino shooter has ended when the FBI said it was able to access the phone’s data with the help from the third party. Should the FBI have access to the information stored on that phone, the phone of a terrorist?

John McAfee: It’s not the matter of should they have it. I mean, I guess, if he’s suspected in a crime, the question is not whether they should have access to it, it is whether they should require Apple to give them access in a manner that gives them access to all other telephones, and that’s basically what the FBI was asking.

SS: But that’s all inter-related. Do you believe the FBI did in fact get access to the phone, or did it just say it did to save face?

JM: Oh yes, absolutely, they did get acess, it’s no question – they have the ability to get the access all along. The way they got access was through a device built by an Israeli company called “Cellebrite”. They had a contract with that company dating back to 2013 and it purchased thousands of these devices, so, they had the capacity all along. They just wanted to use this phone, since it was used in a terrorist act, to be a test-case to try and get the courts to force Apple to give them a backdoor.

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