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Apple's Craig Federighi Says Rolling Back to Old Mobile OS Would Be Nuts

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has proposed that Apple return to iOS 7.

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Apple’s software chief, Craig Federighi, says that law enforcement’s suggestion that the company roll back to an older version of its mobile operating system would make everyone less secure.

Federighi used an op-ed in the Washington Post to pick apart Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s proposal that Apple return to iOS 7 — the 2013 version of the operating system that allowed law enforcement to extract data from the smartphones.

While secure for its time, iOS 7 has subsequently been breached by hackers, including those who’ve sold their techniques to others with malicious intent, Federighi writes.

“That’s why it’s so disappointing that the FBI, Justice Department and others in law enforcement are pressing us to turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies,” Federighi writes on the Washington Post op-ed page. “They have suggested that the safeguards of iOS 7 were good enough and that we should simply go back to the security standards of 2013.”

Apple and the government are locked in a battle over device encryption. Government prosecutors want the technology company to create a version of its software that would disable security protections on an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino attacks.

Federighi says Apple’s software team tries to stay a step ahead of the criminals who want to pry personal information from our devices. The number of high-profile breaches of retail chains, banks and the federal government over the last 18 months reveal the seriousness of the threat.

“But the threat to our personal information is just the tip of the iceberg,” Federighi writes. “Your phone is more than a personal device. In today’s mobile, networked world, it’s part of the security perimeter that protects your family and co-workers.”

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