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Rubio Oversimplifies FBI-Apple Battle

During the recent GOP debate, Sen. Marco Rubio said the FBI has asked Apple to disable “the auto-erase mode on one phone in the entire world.” But the FBI, which is seeking access to the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, has asked Apple to write software that could do more than that.

Rubio is right on one point — in this particular case, the FBI is not asking Apple to create a “back door to an encryption device” in the traditional sense of the term. Back doors are usually thought of as holes inserted purposefully into the design of devices before they’re released.

However, Rubio was wrong when he said all the FBI is asking Apple to do is disable the “auto-erase mode on one phone in the entire word.” The FBI is asking Apple to disable other features as well.