Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that the company is opposing the court order which demanded it help FBI investigators break into an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino gunmen and access the data.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a letter to customers,
We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.
Since September 2014, data on the latest Apple devices such as text messages and photographs have been encrypted by default. Cook responded less than 24 hours after the U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, of U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, ruled that Apple must provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the FBI to unlock data on Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5C. Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in December in a mass shooting at a county public health facility. The pair subsequently died in a gun battle with police. An iPhone was recovered from the scene but because investigators don’t know the passcode they have been unable to access the phone’s data.
Apple says even its own staff cannot access the data a move the company made following the Edward Snowden revelations into government surveillance. “In today’s digital world, the ‘key’ to an encrypted system is a piece of information that unlocks the data, and it is only as secure as the protections around it. Once the information is known, or a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with that knowledge, Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices, Cook added.