You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Apple CEO Defies U.S. Order to Hack iPhone of San Bernardino Shooting Suspect

Tim Cook says tech giant will oppose government's request to 'hack our own users'

Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued a strongly worded statement that the company would not comply with a federal judge’s order to crack open an iPhone used by a suspect in December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.

The standoff could become a watershed digital privacy case. Cook, in an 1,100-word letter posted on Apple’s site Wednesday, said the order amounts to the U.S. government requesting that the company build a “backdoor” into the iPhone — “something we consider too dangerous to create.”

“The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers,” he wrote. “We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”

A federal judge had granted the Justice Department’s request that Apple help unlock an iPhone 5C that was used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooting suspects. The Dec. 2 attack left 14 people dead and 22 others seriously wounded. The court instructed Apple to disable certain security measures of the iPhone so the FBI can obtain data stored on the device.

“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,” Cook said. “In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.” That could result in a “master key” that would threaten the security of millions of iPhones, he said.

In a briefing Wednesday, a White House spokesman disputed the notion that the DOJ is asking Apple to “create a new backdoor to its products.” The request is specific to the San Bernardino shooting, he said, to let law-enforcement officials learn “as much as they can about this one case,” Reuters reported.

Apple has cooperated with FBI requests following the San Bernardino incident, including providing “data that’s in our possession,” Cook added. But with the latest court order, he wrote, “The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals.”

More Digital

  • 'Star Wars: Battlefront II' Controversy Signals

    'Star Wars' Video Game Microtransactions Ignite Controversy

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued a strongly worded statement that the company would not comply with a federal judge’s order to crack open an iPhone used by a suspect in December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The standoff could become a watershed digital privacy case. Cook, in an 1,100-word letter posted on Apple’s site […]

  • trt world

    How Turkey’s TRT World Wants to Win Over U.S. Online Video Viewers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued a strongly worded statement that the company would not comply with a federal judge’s order to crack open an iPhone used by a suspect in December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The standoff could become a watershed digital privacy case. Cook, in an 1,100-word letter posted on Apple’s site […]

  • CaptainSparkelz - Pocket.watch

    YouTube Creators CaptainSparklez, EvanTube Sign With Kid-Media Startup Pocket.watch

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued a strongly worded statement that the company would not comply with a federal judge’s order to crack open an iPhone used by a suspect in December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The standoff could become a watershed digital privacy case. Cook, in an 1,100-word letter posted on Apple’s site […]

  • Peter Thiel

    Billionaire Peter Thiel Sells Majority of Facebook Stake, Pocketing $29 Million

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued a strongly worded statement that the company would not comply with a federal judge’s order to crack open an iPhone used by a suspect in December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The standoff could become a watershed digital privacy case. Cook, in an 1,100-word letter posted on Apple’s site […]

  • Facebook

    Unsure if You Fell For Russia's Fake News? Facebook Will Tell You Soon

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued a strongly worded statement that the company would not comply with a federal judge’s order to crack open an iPhone used by a suspect in December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The standoff could become a watershed digital privacy case. Cook, in an 1,100-word letter posted on Apple’s site […]

  • New Media old media shakeup

    Murdoch Sale Talks Underscore Digital's Effect in Disrupting Hollywood

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued a strongly worded statement that the company would not comply with a federal judge’s order to crack open an iPhone used by a suspect in December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The standoff could become a watershed digital privacy case. Cook, in an 1,100-word letter posted on Apple’s site […]

  • Mosaic app

    Steven Soderbergh's 'Mosaic' App Is Now Available on Android

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued a strongly worded statement that the company would not comply with a federal judge’s order to crack open an iPhone used by a suspect in December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The standoff could become a watershed digital privacy case. Cook, in an 1,100-word letter posted on Apple’s site […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content