Judge Sheri Pym, of the Federal District Court for the District of Central California, gave a court order Tuesday that requires Apple to bypass the security functions on the iPhone 5c owned by Syed Rizwan Farook, also known as the San Bernardino shooter.
Hours after the order, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple would not be complying with the government’s order, calling it “an overreach by the U.S. government.”
The judge ordered Apple to essentially build special, all new software that would work as a skeleton key or a universal unlocker, capable of bypassing the device’s security and allowing law enforcement access to the data inside.
However, Cook said that Apple does not have such a capability, nor would they want to create it, for security and privacy reasons. He called the potential “backdoor” into iPhone security, “…something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create.”
“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 backdoor,” Cook added. “And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”
Cook stated that Apple has cooperated with the authorities on multiple occasions in the past, complying with search warrants and subpoenas and making Apple engineers available as advisors to the FBI. But, he believes this latest request goes beyond what they have asked for in the past, and is a dangerous precedent which would open the door to further government collection of data as well as compromise their devices’ security.
Cook added, “We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.”
Read Tim Cook’s statement here:
Read Judge Pym’s court order here: