Apple’s CareKit Is the Best Argument Yet for Strong Encryption

Brian Barrett | Wired | March 21, 2016

On the eve of his company’s court date with the FBI, where it will defend its right to not weaken the security of its own devices, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at a small theater in Cupertino to introduce a few new devices. The message of the event’s opening, though? Encryption matters. And soon, on iOS, it will matter even more. While Cook’s remarks were brief, they were determined.

“We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data, and over our privacy,” Cook said before a mixed crowd of journalists and Apple employees. “We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government. But we believe strongly that we have a responsibility to help you protect your data, and protect your privacy. We owe it to our customers, and we owe it to our country. This is an issue that impacts all of us, and we will not shrink from this responsibility.”

That Apple is prepared to fight the FBI’s insistence that it create software that would help law enforcement unlock an iPhone has been clear from the beginning. The company’s response has been active on its own site, in the media, in legal briefs, and before Congress. Cook’s message was of a piece with what Apple has repeatedly stressed. Our phones, if they didn’t already, will know more about us than we know about ourselves. The more powerful message, though, came a few minutes later in the keynote address in the form of a new platform called CareKit, which would let developers introduce health care apps capable of monitoring a wealth of information though Apple devices. The kind of data that you’d want to guard as closely as your own heartbeat...