Encryption: The Story Beyond Apple

By Phill Powell

If you’ve been paying attention to the recent legal standoff between Apple and the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ), you may have thought that story was now over.

As the world grows increasingly computerized, secure encryption will become even more important.

After all, the DOJ is no longer pressing Apple to provide a “back door” to an iPhone used by a recent domestic terrorist in San Bernardino, Calif. Just before that case was scheduled to arrive in court on March 22nd, the DOJ pulled its request.

Why? According to the DOJ, it had found pro hackers who were able to gain entry into the smartphone in question, and the DOJ no longer needed Apple’s help.


The case, which had been steadily gathering steam as a national topic of discussion, ended right then and there. Like boxers between rounds, both parties retreated to their respective corners.

But the underlying issue hasn’t gone away at all, and it can be expressed in a not-so-simple question: Who should control the encryption of our various electronic and computer devices?


Encryption. The very word sounds secretive and guarded, like something from a spy movie. The modern term refers to the methods used to keep the online data used by individuals safe and away from people or groups who may be inclined to steal such data and try to use it for their own gains.

So, in a nutshell, encryption is all about keeping data safe from prying eyes. But that leads us to a tricky question: Exactly whose prying eyes are we trying to keep away from our data?

For most of us, that answer would probably include sinister hackers trying to rob our personal bank accounts and other lowlifes trying to steal or otherwise scam us by using our personal information.

However, for Apple, that answer would also include a federal government that might trample the personal liberties of citizens whenever it felt like it.

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On April 8th, it was announced that Apple and the DOJ would square off again, this time in a court case in Brooklyn, N.Y.

When it does, expect the same basic issues to be thrust into the spotlight again. And should this new case suddenly collapse like the last did, never fear.

There are more than a dozen active court cases across America in which law enforcement officials are trying to compel Apple to provide encryption help that would or could violate the privacy promised by the Apple user experience.


Encryption is such a “wild card” right now partly because it’s such an amazingly complex subject – a non-ending and always escalating game of cat-and-mouse between those who design computer programs and those who live to hack those programs.

The state of encryption is always changing, meaning that its players – on both sides – have to remain super-sharp on the evolving world of programming, especially as it relates to cyber-security.

Since our world is becoming so fully computerized, encryption is an issue that’s going to remain important. And that means that for programmers who really know their stuff, encryption could be an area of app development that they want to specialize in.

Encryption is the sharpest point on technology’s cutting edge – and a subject that will be generating vast interest for decades to come.

Apple’s encryption battle hasn’t changed its rep as the world’s most popular and successful company.


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Programming is a true stepping stone, as well as a key that unlocks limitless opportunities for cool hobbies, advancement at school and even future vocational plans.

App development is the beating pulse of today’s leading technologies. It’s a smartphone world and for the programmers who design apps for iPhone and iPad, the rewards can be great.

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