Thursday 27 October 2016

Unlocking killer's iPhone would be 'bad for America', claims Apple chief

Rachael Alexander

Published 26/02/2016 | 02:30

Tim Cook. Photo: AP
Tim Cook. Photo: AP

Apple CEO Tim Cook said that it would be "bad for America" if his company complied with the FBI's demand for help unlocking an encrypted iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.

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Mr Cook said he is prepared to take the dispute to the US supreme court. He also said he would try to make his case directly to president Barack Obama, although he did not say when or where they would meet.

In his first interview since the controversy erupted last week, Mr Cook told ABC News that it was a difficult decision to resist a court order directing Apple to override security features on an iPhone used by Syed Farook, one of two extremists who killed 14 people in the Southern California city in December.

"Some things are hard and some things are right, and some things are both. This is one of those things," Mr Cook said. The interview came as both sides in the dispute are courting public support, through interviews and public statements, while also mustering legal arguments.

Federal officials have said they're only asking for narrow assistance in bypassing some security features on the iPhone, which they believe may contain information related to the mass murders.

Apple has argued that doing so would make other iPhones more susceptible to hacking by authorities or criminals in the future.

Apple has said it intends to fight the court order and has until today to respond.

The iPhone in question was used by Farook, who along with his wife went on a shooting rampage in December that killed 14 and wounded 22. The Justice Department wants Apple to write software that would disable its passcode to allow access without erasing the data on the device.

The Apple chief expressed sympathy for the shooting victims' families, and said his company provided engineers and technical advice to authorities investigating the case. But he said authorities are now asking the company "to write a piece of software that we view as sort of the equivalent of cancer".

Irish Independent

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