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Former NSA Head on iPhone Encryption Break: 'Bad Idea'

© AP Photo / CBS News, Chris UsherFormer CIA and and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden
Former CIA and and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden - Sputnik International
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Former NSA and CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden said that cybersecurity will be damaged if the Federal Bureau of Investigations is able to compel technology giant Apple to bypass the encryption on a suspected terrorists’ iPhone.

US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden - Sputnik International
Snowden Blasts FBI: Demands That Apple Unlock iPhone Amount to Perjury
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Cybersecurity will be damaged if the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is able to compel technology giant Apple to bypass the encryption on a suspected terrorists’ iPhone, former National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Gen. Michael Hayden said on Friday.

"All I’m saying is, when Apple is done, this will be less secure than it was," Hayden said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute.

US federal law enforcement and Apple have been in a showdown in recent months after the FBI requested Apple to create a defeat mechanism to break the encryption on an iPhone used by one of two individuals responsible for a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California in December.

"I just think it’s a bad idea," Hayden said of the government’s request to Apple. "It is a bad idea because [Director of National Intelligence] Jim Clapper, for the last two or three years, has said the most serious threat to American safety and security is cyber."

Hayden, who led the NSA under former President George W. Bush, argued that the pace of technological progress will make it "harder and harder" for intelligence and law enforcement to obtain content from intercepted communications. He advised those officials to "get over it," explaining that it will still be possible to gather intelligence on communications.

A picture taken on September 29, 2015 shows the Twitter account of former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. - Sputnik International
Snowden Dismisses FBI Claims Only Apple Can Hack iPhone
Apple has strongly opposed creating security backdoors for law enforcement, arguing it will jeopardize millions of devices. Breaking the iPhone encryption would impact at least a dozen ongoing US law enforcement cases across the country, where officials are hoping to gain access to encrypted information.

In recent days, the FBI has alleged a third party may be able to break the iPhone encryption, but success is not guaranteed.

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