Apple is refusing to follow a federal judge’s order to help the FBI break into an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the move could undermine encryption by creating a back door that could potentially be used on other users’ devices.
From the New York Post:
Cook’s ferocious response, posted early Wednesday on the company’s website, came after an order from US Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym that Apple Inc. help the Obama administration break into an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the shooters in the December attack.
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 also argued that the order “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”
The iPhone FBI technicians seek to unlock is the work phone of San Bernardino terrorist Farook. The phone was not on his person during the shooting.
Investigators hope the encrypted content might reveal who the couple communicated with and where they traveled, before and after the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since the September 11.
Apple was not allowed to participate in the hearing which the order came from.
The ruling by [Magistrate Judge Sheri] Pym, a former federal prosecutor, requires Apple to supply highly specialized software the FBI can load onto the county-owned work iPhone to bypass a self-destruct feature, which erases the phone’s data after too many unsuccessful attempts to unlock it. The FBI wants to be able to try different combinations in rapid sequence until it finds the right one.
Just last week FBI Director James Comey told members of Congress that encryption is a major problem for law enforcement dealing with “a device that can’t be opened even when a judge says there’s probable cause to open it.”