Apple CEO Opposes Judge’s Order to Unlock iPhone in Wake of San Bernardino Attacks

Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

By Steve Neavling

Apple CEO Tim Cook fired back at a federal judge’s order to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernadino, saying the demands were “unprecedented,” The Washington Post reports. 

“We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a strongly worded open letter. “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.”

A magistrate judge in Riverside, Calif., signed an order Tuesday to request that Apple disable a feature that erases phone data after 10 unsuccessful attempts to enter the password. That way, the judge said, investigators would have a better shot at cracking the password by using tens of millions of combinations without the data being deleted.

The FBI has been unable to access data on the phone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers.

“It has been two months now, and we are still working on it,” FBI Director James Comey told Congress last week.

The couple was using an iPhone5C.

Cook said in an open letter that Apple was “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.”

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