Apple CEO, Tim Cook fights court order to help FBI unlock phone

Timothy Cook, CEO of Apple
Timothy Cook, CEO of Apple

On Wednesday, Apple said that it would oppose and challenge a federal court order to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, that killed 14 people in December. 

The magistrate Judge, Sheri Pym ordered Apple to build special software that would essentially act as a skeleton key capable of unlocking the iPhone 5C used by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik after they attacked Mr. Farook’s co-workers at a holiday gathering.

In a statement by Tim cook, Apple announced its refusal to comply. The move sets up a legal showdown between the company, which says it is eager to protect the privacy of its customers, and the law enforcement authorities, who say that new encryption technologies hamper their ability to prevent and solve crime.

In his statement, Mr. Cook called the court order an “unprecedented step” by the federal government. “We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” he wrote.

Mr. Cook said the order would amount to creating a “back door” to bypass Apple’s strong encryption standards — “something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create.” “The F.B.I. 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,” Mr. Cook wrote. “And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

Mr. Cook’s statement called the government’s demands “chilling.” He added: “If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”

Culled from newyorktimes

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