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Cuban: If Apple loses, just forget phone security

Mark Cuban
Gabriel Grams | CNBC
Mark Cuban

If the FBI forces Apple to "crack" the iPhone of the San Bernardino, California, killer, Mark Cuban warns modern phone security will largely go out the window.

Companies will have to provide a line-by-line publication of the code used to open the devices to the court, Cuban said, so that defense attorneys couldn't claim that the evidence was placed there or altered. Those codes would immediately become public under current laws, allowing any hacker to implement the code to open a number of devices, Cuban said.

"No one can play whack a mole with code fast enough to keep them out," the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team wrote in a Tuesday blog post.

Currently, he noted, digital evidence submitted to courts, such as phone or E-ZPass records, do not require someone to create a code in order to access the information; the info is stored in databases not at risk of being hacked or stolen when presented in court.

Apple and the FBI are appearing at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday afternoon. The hearing comes just one day after a New York federal judge ruled in a separate but somewhat similar case that the tech giant does not have to unlock a phone for investigators.

In a previous blog post, Cuban suggested new legislation that would compel companies to remove security or encryption from mobile devices in only four specific circumstances:

  1. An event, with casualties, that has been declared an act of terrorism.
  2. There is reason to believe that the smartphone was possessed by a participant in the act of terrorism.
  3. The smartphone must have been on premise during the event.
  4. The terrorist who was in possession of the smartphone or tablet must be deceased.

Of course, Cuban reminded his blog fans that he's no lawyer. Still, he's tangled with thorny privacy-versus-government issues in the past and went several long rounds with the Securities and Exchange Commission over insider trading charges he ultimately beat in 2013.

Disclosure: Mark Cuban stars on "Shark Tank," which is rebroadcast by CNBC.