Apple has published an open letter to the public in response to an FBI Unlock request for iPhone data in a San Bernardino court case, signed by Tim Cook.
Apple says it has complied with valid warrants in regard to the San Bernardino case, but now the FBI has gone too far in Cook’s eyes … asking Apple to create something ‘ too dangerous to create. Apple states that the FBI court order is an unprecedented step which threatens the security of its customers worldwide. ‘Implications far beyond the legal case at hand’ are at stake, Tim Cook has explained.
Cook goes on to say that the court wants Apple to create a special version of the iPhone operating system, which would bypass many key security features. The letter then states that this order is unprecedented in history: ‘We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack.’
The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.
Cook explains the FBI is making these demands through the All Writs Act. Right now, the FBI insists Apple make special iPhone software to enable PIN brute-forcing. This would allow the FBI to use a special program to guess the passcode over a long period without suffering the waiting periods between incorrect codes and without having the device wipe itself. But Cook says it could go further, using the same legal justification to get access to messages, health records or even access iPhone camera and microphone without user knowledge.