Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Is Apple Refusing to Help Federal Investigators?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Is Apple Refusing to Help Federal Investigators?

Article excerpt

The United States government's demands that Apple, Inc. unlock the iPhone used by one of the perpetrators of a December terror attack were met with a firm refusal from Apple's CEO last week.

Government representatives have requested that Apple provide a "backdoor" workaround to the iPhone's security systems to overcome encryption features and learn more about its user, Syed Rizwan Farook, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, who in December killed 14 and injured 22 when they opened fire on a Department of Public Health holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif. The iPhone was issued to Mr. Farook, an employee of the health department, by San Bernardino County. Both he and Malik destroyed their personal phones before the assault.

On Monday, Tim Cook, chief executive at the technology giant, responded to a US District Court order from last Tuesday and a follow-up government motion issued on Friday that demanded Apple's cooperation in unlocking the phone. Apple posted a question and answer blog on its website refuting the notion that Mr. Cook or Apple would proceed as ordered, while asking for a review of technology and security standards.

"Our country has always been strongest when we come together. We feel the best way forward would be for the government to withdraw its demands under the All Writs Act and, as some in Congress have proposed, form a commission or other panel of experts on intelligence, technology, and civil liberties to discuss the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy, and personal freedoms," the Apple post read. "Apple would gladly participate in such an effort."

The Q&A release also stated that Apple had already done everything within its power to aid law enforcement regarding the case, adding that "We have no sympathy for terrorists," while criticizing the government's "unlawful" request.

Cook released a statement last week in response to the court order, which highlighted his position on the matter and stressed Apple's opposition to creating an iPhone backdoor.

"Opposing this order is not something we take lightly," Cook wrote in the message. "We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the US government. …

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