Apple Employees Will Quit If Forced To Build GovtOS [Report]

It’s going to be an interesting few weeks, and potentially months, as Apple and the Federal Government try to reach a conclusion in the ongoing iPhone encryption case. Apple continues to stand by its official stance that it will not assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone involved in the San Bernardino shooting, but even if that stance changes for whatever reason, it appears that it still won’t be as clear cut as the FBI would hope.

It seems that Apple’s employees, and specifically those who have worked tirelessly to implement the type of encryption that exists in Apple’s OS, would take exception to being forced by their employer to cooperate with this particular court order. The report, which cites a number of current and former Apple employees, suggests that there are already internal discussions going on amongst employees about a potential action that could be taken should government passes new law that forces Apple to create “GovtOS,” or if Apple decides to comply with the government’s request.


Apple employees are already discussing what they will do if ordered to help law enforcement authorities. Some say they may balk at the work, while others may even quit their high-paying jobs rather than undermine the security of the software they have already created.

It’s unclear how Apple would react to an employee effectively refusing to carry out the work necessary to comply with the court order. With that in mind, a number of experts that were interviewed as part of the this report have suggested that an employee’s refusal to undermine their own encryption work could actually work in Apple’s favor, and could potentially be one way around actually having to comply with the FBI, even if ordered to. Given the nature of the work, and the fact that talented security specialists make it their life’s work to create these utterly secure systems, it isn’t a shock that some of them would rather leave their high-paying jobs over having to undermine that work.


With tension rising between Apple and the FBI, we will see the two add yet another chapter to this ongoing saga when they meet in the U.S. District Courthouse in Riverside, California on March 22, just a day after Apple’s Spring media event.

(Source: NYT)

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