A U.S Federal judge on Tuesday ordered Apple to help federal investigators access data on the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, reports NBC News. According to court papers, Apple “declined to provide [assistance] voluntarily.”
More specifically, the device is an iPhone 5c that belongs to Syed Farook, who with his wife Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California last year. The phone is locked with a passcode, and prosecutors say data found in Farook’s iCloud account suggests it could contain evidence.
The judge ruled Tuesday that the Cupertino-based company had to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the government in recovering data from the iPhone 5c, including bypassing the auto-erase function and allowing investigators to submit an unlimited number of passwords in their attempts to unlock the phone. Apple has five days to respond to the court if it believes that compliance would be “unreasonably burdensome.”
Apparently, FBI has managed to get their hands on iCloud backups of Syed’s iPhone 5c, and want Apple to disable a feature that automatically erases the iPhone’s data after a certain specified number of failed login attempts. It is still unclear if Apple will be able to help the government agencies here or not.
Apple stopped storing encryption keys after the release of iOS 8, making it impossible for the company to bypass passcodes to gain access to a device. Additionally, Apple CEO Tim Cook has consistently insisted that providing back-door access past its encryption for authorities would open the door for “bad guys” to gain access to its users’ data.
Apple Ordered to Help FBI unlock iPhone 5c of San Bernardino’s shooter