Apple has said it will contest a court order to help the FBI gain access to data on the iPhone of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook.
The technology giant had been ordered to circumvent its own security software to provide “crucial information” needed by the FBI to investigate the terror incident.
However, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said that providing a backdoor for the FBI to access the data on Farook’s iPhone would have far wider impact on the security of all their customers.
In an open letter to Apple customers published on the company’s website, he said:
“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”
Cook goes on to explain the need for encryption to protect people’s data “from hackers and criminals who want to access it, steal it, and use it without our knowledge or permission” and how the FBI “asked [Apple] to build a backdoor to the iPhone”.
As Cook notes, while the FBI have said that the use of iOS with this backdoor would be limited to use in this case, once the software is out in the wild “there is no way to guarantee such control”.
“Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.”