Whose side are they on? Apple REFUSES court order to unlock dead Islamic terrorist’s iPhone found after husband and wife’s San Bernardino attack
- Apple CEO Tim Cook posted a message on the company’s website Wednesday morning stating their intentions to fight the court order
- A U.S. magistrate judge ordered Apple to help the FBI bypass the passcode on alleged San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s work iPhone
- In 2014, Apple updated its iPhone operating system to require that the phone be locked by a passcode that only the user knows
- The phone now has a self-destruct feature which erases the phone’s data after too many unsuccessful attempts to unlock it
- Previously, the company could use a tool that would physically plug into the phone in order to respond to government search warrant requests
- Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik were killed in a shootout with police after killing 14 at a holiday luncheon for Farook’s office on December 2
Apple has refused a federal order to hack into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, claiming it would undermine encryption by creating a backdoor that could potentially be used on other future devices.
CEO Tim Cook’s ferocious response, posted early Wednesday on the company’s website, came after an order from U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym that Apple Inc. help the Obama administration break into the encrypted phone.
The first-of-its-kind ruling was a significant victory for the Justice Department in a technology policy debate that pits digital privacy against national security interests.
Noting the order Tuesday from federal Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym in California, Cook said ‘this moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.’
Cook argued that the order ‘has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.’
Pym’s order to Apple to help the FBI hack into an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino, California shooters set the stage for a legal fight between the federal government and Silicon Valley over a first-of-its-kind ruling.
The order, in which Apple is being directed to assist the FBI in breaking into an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardo shooters, represents a significant victory for the Justice Department.
The Obama administration has embraced stronger encryption as a way to keep consumers safe on the Internet, but struggled to find a compelling example to make its case.
Cook said that the U.S. government order would undermine encryption by using specialized software to create an essential back door that he compared to a ‘master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks.’
‘In the wrong hands, this software – which does not exist today – would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession,’ Cook wrote.
‘The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a back door.
‘And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.’
Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman today deferred to the Justice Department but said it was important to recognize the government is not asking Apple to ‘create a new backdoor to its products.’
He said the case was about federal investigators learning ‘as much as they can about this one case.’
‘The president certainly believes that is an important national priority,’ he said.
FBI Director James Comey told members of Congress
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