On Dec. 2, 2015, a married couple opened fire on their coworker’s holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.
In this attack 14 individuals lost their lives and upwards of 20 others were wounded. The attackers were cornered by the authorities and died in a gun battle.
This event was widely seen as an act of terrorism. Many believe that this case should be investigated from every possible angle in order to prevent attacks like this from ever occurring in the future.
Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook has drawn the line. In response to the shooting, the FBI approached Cook and Apple in the hopes that the tech cooperation would aid in unlocking the San Bernardino shooters’ iPhone in order to glean more information regarding the attacker’s connections and radicalization, according to CBS News. The FBI received a judge’s order, allowing them to demand Apple make the passcode available to them.
Apple has refused to comply with the order, stating on the company’s website in a customer letter, that “When the FBI as requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case. We have also made Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and we’ve offered our best ideas on a number of investigative options at their disposal.”
However Apple, through the mouthpiece of an open letter by Cook, goes on to state that completely unlocking the phone will establish a dangerous precedent that would infringe upon the privacy of all iPhone users, and tech users in general according to The New York Daily News.
Apple stated that unlocking this phone would not be as simple as looking up the passcode and handing it over to the FBI.
To unlock this phone, Cook wrote to the FBI, a “backdoor” would need to be created to allow IOS encryption to be bypassed, according to Apple customer letter.
This would require Apple to create a completely new version of IOS that zooms past all privacy safeguards.
Apple argues that the creation of this software would endanger the private information of all its users, as the technology will exist for their privacy to be compromised reported by Apple’s website.
Cook also argued that, while these acts of terror are inexcusable and all avenues of investigation should be explored, Apple unlocking this iPhone would create a nasty precedent in future cases.
While in a handful of previous cases Apple has unlocked earlier versions of the IPhone that did not possess this encryption for law enforcement, Apple has officially established their stance and protocol on this issue. Along side Apple, both Google and Yahoo announced on Friday Feb. 19 that they are on Apple’s side concerning this issue according to The New York Daily News.
They defend this decision, stating that, “The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. 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” reported by CBS News.
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.”
Regardless of who is morally “right” in this case the president has now been established by Apple in favor of privacy over security.
Editor’s Note: Information from CBS News, The New York Daily News and Apple was used in this report.