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Apple to Oppose Court Order to Unlock San Bernardino Attacker’s iPhone

Apple image — The iPhone 5C.

Tim Cook is ready for battle.

The Apple CEO said his company plans to challenge a “chilling” federal court order to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the attackers to carry out the Dec. 2 terrorist attack that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif.

Cook, in a lengthy letter to Apple customers on the company’s website today, explained his reasoning in opposing the federal court order.

Tim Cook
Tim Cook

“Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government,” Cook wrote. “We are 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.

“While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”

The order to help the FBI came Tuesday. In it, the judge said Apple must provide “reasonable technical assistance” to law enforcement in the recovery of data from the iPhone 5c. The FBI has been unable to access the device’s encrypted content.

Prosecutors, according to NBC, told the court Apple’s assistance would be necessary to access the phone’s data in a bid to discover who the gun-wielding attackers were in contact with and who may have helped the pair to plan and execute the massacre.

Cook, however, remains unmoved by the government’s reasoning. He said the court is asking Apple to hack its own users, undermining “decades of security advancements.”

“We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack,” Cook wrote. “For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. Criminals and bad actors will still encrypt, using tools that are readily available to them.”

To read Cook’s letter in full, click here.

What do you think, is Cook’s stand reasonable, or should Apple help the FBI without a fight?

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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