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Posts under tag: backdoor

February 17, 2016

Apple’s Customer Letter: the US Government is requesting overreach

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, released a letter to his customers today following the request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to have data decrypted from an iPhone formerly belonging to the gunman who instigated a shooting spree in San Bernadino, California last December.

In response to the request by the FBI, Cook asserts that Apple complied with the subpoenas and search warrants issued in the investigation process for this case. Cook goes further:

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.

Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

Cook goes on to say that the FBI is circumventing Congressional action by invoking the All Writs Act “in an unprecedented use” to justify its request to expand its authority on future matters of similar nature. Apple will oppose the order due to what Cook sees as “an overreach by the U.S. government” citing its purpose is with “the deepest respect for American democracy and a love for our country” in mind.

For the full letter to Apple customers, click here.