Tim Cook says Apple will appeal judge's order to unlock San Bernardino shooter's iPhone


Posts: 5,992   +50
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One day after a judge ordered Apple to help the FBI access the locked iPhone that was owned by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters, CEO Tim Cook has spoken out against the decision, confirming that the company will appeal the order.

Judge Sheri Pym said in a ruling that Apple must give “reasonable technical assistance” to investigators attempting to unlock the data on the iPhone 5c. Authorities want Apple to create software that will circumvent the device’s security system, including a feature that erases all data on the iPhone if the passcode is entered incorrectly ten times.

“What the court is essentially ordering Apple to do is custom-build malware to undermine its own product’s security features, and then cryptographically sign that software so the iPhone will trust it as coming from Apple,” wrote Kevin S. Bankston, director of New America’s Open Technology Institute in an emailed statement to PCWorld.

The auto-delete feature has to be activated by the user, but authorities can’t tell if the function has been enabled in this case.

As prosecutors don’t know the passcode, they can’t access Farook’s work-issued iPhone. "Apple has the exclusive technical means which would assist the government in completing its search, but has declined to provide that assistance voluntarily," the prosecutors said.

Apple chief Tim Cook said in a letter to customers that, despite the order, the company won’t be building a backdoor to the iPhone.

We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.

Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

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. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

Cook went on to warn of the implications of the government's demands.

The government would have us remove security features and add new capabilities to the operating system, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by “brute force,” trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.

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. 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.

The December 2 shooting, perpetrated by Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, resulted in 14 deaths and 22 serious injuries at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. It reignited the debate over tech firms weakening their products’ encryption or providing backdoors so authorities can monitor suspects.

Last year, Apple said it would not perform data extractions in response to government search warrants on devices running iOS 8 and later because it could not access the data without the user’s passcode, which it does not possess. Apple added that it has never worked with any government to create a backdoor in any of its products or services, and it never will.

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Posts: 8,645   +3,281
If Apple won't help them crack the phone, why don't the authorities just belt the password out of the perp? It's what I'd do. I've never been one to shy away from a bit of rough justice myself.

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,375   +5,798
There have been a number of publicly released papers that talk about how the phone can be cracked without the government's solution. If the FBI is so inept they can't figure it out, should we be letting them carry guns? I mean, after all, they could accidentally shoot themselves! Oh wait, is that a win/win?


Posts: 209   +96
Bravo for Apple & Tim Cook ..... we have plenty of government intrusion as it is!
"we"? I don't think you mean to imply you are "with" them. Them being terrorists, but then you go on to say how it would be good if the FBI agents were to shoot themselves, so perhaps that is what you wanted to convey. I'm not sure how shooting oneself could be a win/win. Perhaps I'd have to be mentally divergent, as you likely are to see that. You are clearly someone's nitwit crazy uncle.

Jerimy AG

Posts: 15   +5
I believe that a big company as Apple have to implement a modded IOS version that allow institutions like FBI to enter the device, without letting the phone to communicate with networks.

This apparently is a win for the terrorism, that will make the brand more popular on them.
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Posts: 171   +99
If Apple won't help them crack the phone, why don't the authorities just belt the password out of the perp? It's what I'd do. I've never been one to shy away from a bit of rough justice myself.
Apparently no matter how hard you hit them, or how long you waterboard them, corpses, are extremely resistant to giving up their passcodes. The weakest corpse will outlast the toughest interrogator.

Jack Meoffski

Posts: 49   +35
Apple knows whats up. They know countries like China and Saudi Arabia will want the same treatment and power to open anyones phone under their medieval laws .


Posts: 1,382   +72
I really like what tim cook is doing with that company. I'm taking 2 courses at stanford with like a scholarship since they're free to study iphone programming. Hate to be haughty to stanford, but they use 30 year old what are called leland machines to run unix, not linux. Luckily, it runs on linux.


Posts: 2,479   +1,750
Remember though how the federal government (USA) works though.
Remember in the 90's how the government went apesh*t crazy to punish
Microsoft? It was "suppose" to be for IE or something, but actually it was
because MS wasn't playing the lobbying game. They had ZERO lobbyist
throwing money at politicians. After that was resolved, now MS has a HUGE
lobbying staff in DC, throwing all sorts of parties, dinners etc for elected officials.
I'll bet if Apple doesn't bend to the will of the government, there will be all sorts of
shady tariffs, taxes, IRS investigations into "illegal" activity etc, just to get them to
bend to their will. It's how government works these days, sadly.


Posts: 16,065   +4,868
Well, I don't see where Apple would have to give the crack to the fed. Simply unlock the phone in their own labs, and surrender the data only, via subpoena. As far as whatever code might be created for unlocking the phone, just store it on a Seagate 3TB HDD, it'll get lost soon enough....:D


Posts: 16,065   +4,868
Lol - subpoenaed - Do they ask any other way?
And that's the way it should be. It's way better than having everything everyone says, scooped up by the NSA. In the case of this guys phone, he's dead, which makes it, "no harm, no foul".

Second, the NSA already likely has the contents of his phone,. but can't unscramble it.

So, the gravity of issue here, is significant enough to warrant Apple opening the phone.

"Your friend and mine", "Technician", published Apple's EULA (*) which plainly states, we'll give your data law enforcement if requested.

Which really makes Tim Cook running his mouth to no point, other than trying to make himself look good.

(*) Or was that only M$. Turn those big corporations EULAs upside down though, and they all look alike.