Apple Says America’s ‘Founders Would Be Appalled’ by FBI’s Demands to Unlock Phone

Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

By Steve Neavling

Apple took its final legal shot at the FBI before next week’s courtroom showdown over unlocking an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

Apple’s legal team warned in court papers of “serious risks” to the privacy of “millions of citizens” if a federal judge orders the tech giant to hack an iPhone, the San Jose Mercury News reports. 

“This case hinges on a contentious policy issue about how society should weigh what law enforcement officials want against the widespread repercussions and serious risks their demands would create,” Apple wrote. “This case arises in a difficult context after a terrible tragedy. But it is in just such highly charged and emotional cases that the courts must zealously guard civil liberties and the rule of law and reject government overreaching.”

Arguments in the case are scheduled for next week in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, who tentatively ordered Apple to comply with the FBI’s request to unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook.

The Justice Department has argued that unlocking the single phone is necessary to “leave no stone unturned” in the terrorism investigation.

Apple said the order would result in “catastrophic security implications.”

“(According) to the government, short of kidnapping or breaking an express law, the courts can order private parties to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up,” Apple wrote. “The Founders would be appalled.”

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