Apple has published a new Q&A page on its website that explains why the company is opposing a court order to create a unique version of iOS that would bypass security protections and allow the FBI to unlock an iPhone via brute-force attack.
Apple says the objection is “absolutely not” based on the company’s concern for its “marketing strategy,” as the U.S. Department of Justice opined last week, but rather about ensuring “the vast majority of good and law abiding citizens, who rely on iPhone to protect their most personal and important data” are not at risk.
Apple says that the government wants them to create a new version of the operating system for their own use which does not come with any security features. This version of the OS will also allow entering a passcode electronically, which would make it possible to unlock an iPhone by “brute force”.
Apple makes it clear in its Q&A that while it is technically possible to do what the government has asked it to do, they believe it is too dangerous and that such a powerful tool should never be created to prevent it from falling into wrong hands.
Yes, it is certainly possible to create an entirely new operating system to undermine our security features as the government wants. But it’s something we believe is too dangerous to do. The only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to never create it.
The White House has denied that the FBI is asking Apple to “create a new backdoor to its products,” insisting that the agency is seeking access to a single iPhone belonging to suspected San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook. FBI Director James Comey also said “the San Bernardino litigation isn’t about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message”, but rather “about the victims and justice”.
The company also makes it clear that it has done everything it can within its power and law to help the FBI in this case. It has already provided the FBI with all the information about the phone it had and all the iCloud backups that were stored on their server.
Apple has been given an extension until February 26 to legally respond, and a hearing will be held at 1:00 p.m. Pacific on March 22 in a California federal court. Google, Facebook, and Twitter have publicly backed Apple’s stance on the issue, and some campaigners rallied to support the company, while U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and some San Bernardino victims have sided with the FBI.
In the end, Apple says that the best way forward in this matter would be for the government to withdraw its demands and form a commission or panel of experts on intelligence, technology and civil liberties to discuss this matter forward.
Apple Says Opposing FBI is Not a ‘Marketing Strategy’