Apple Says Opposing FBI is 'Absolutely Not' a 'Marketing Strategy'

Apple-FBIApple has shared a new Q&A page that explains why the company is opposing a court order to create a unique version of iOS that would bypass security protections and allow the FBI to unlock an iPhone via brute-force attack.

Apple says the objection is "absolutely not" based on the company's concern for its "marketing strategy," as the U.S. Department of Justice opined last week, but rather about ensuring "the vast majority of good and law abiding citizens, who rely on iPhone to protect their most personal and important data" are not at risk.

Apple admits that creating a "government-ordered backdoor" is technically possible, but says "the technique, once created, could be used over and over again, on any number of devices." The company insists that complying with the court order would have "dangerous implications" for customer privacy and safety, and set a "very dangerous precedent" that would expand the powers of the U.S. government.

Law enforcement agents around the country have already said they have hundreds of iPhones they want Apple to unlock if the FBI wins this case. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks. Of course, Apple would do our best to protect that key, but in a world where all of our data is under constant threat, it would be relentlessly attacked by hackers and cybercriminals. As recent attacks on the IRS systems and countless other data breaches have shown, no one is immune to cyberattacks.

Again, we strongly believe the only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to never create it.

The White House has denied that the FBI is asking Apple to "create a new backdoor to its products," insisting that the agency is seeking access to a single iPhone belonging to suspected San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook. FBI Director James Comey also said "the San Bernardino litigation isn't about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message," but rather "about the victims and justice."

Apple says it has "done everything that's both within our power and within the law to help in this case," adding that it has "no sympathy for terrorists." The company believes the best way forward would be for the government to withdraw its demands under the All Writs Act and form a commission to "discuss the implications" of the matter. Apple says it "would gladly participate in such an effort."

Apple has been given an extension until February 26 to legally respond, and a hearing will be held at 1:00 p.m. Pacific on March 22 in a California federal court. Google, Facebook, and Twitter have publicly backed Apple's stance on the issue, and some campaigners rallied to support the company, while U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and some San Bernardino victims have sided with the FBI.

In an internal memo obtained by TechCrunch, Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees that he has "received messages from thousands of people in all 50 states," and that the "overwhelming majority" have "voiced their strong support" for the company.

Our fellow citizens know it, too. Over the past week I’ve received messages from thousands of people in all 50 states, and the overwhelming majority are writing to voice their strong support. One email was from a 13-year-old app developer who thanked us for standing up for “all future generations.” And a 30-year Army veteran told me, "Like my freedom, I will always consider my privacy as a treasure."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Top Rated Comments

Kaibelf Avatar
108 months ago
Dear James Comey,
I'm sorry that your agency blundered this investigation so badly. I really am. I'm sorry that the county employed a man who turned out to be a terrorist and your agency was unable to figure this out in time. I'm sorry that the people employing this man didn't even use the most basic mobile device management protocols that would be able to help you here.

However, I didn't do anything to anyone. Therefore, you don't compromise my security and privacy simply because your various agencies fumbled this so badly in so many ways and now to be safe you want to peep into my windows. Using this case and playing the "Apple is a bully to these poor victims" card is shameful. Yes they "sell stuff." They sell a secure device which I purchased because it's secure. They don't work for law enforcement. You know as well as I do that there is a long list of other devices you also want unlocked. Stop lying about this being a one-time thing. Stop trying to force them to play forensics team for you, and for god's sake lock down your devices with proper management tools.

The American people would trust you more if you hadn't burned them before. Perhaps instead of imploring us all to remember the victims, you should look in the mirror and remember that you, in multiple ways, caused this situation.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rdlink Avatar
108 months ago
Stand Strong Apple. True patriots are with you.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
108 months ago
Why does FBI even need Apple? Are they basically saying there's no one smart enough in the world to break into this phone without the help of Apple?

Apple is between a rock and a hard spot on this issue.

They have used security as a marketing tool for years... to give that up is a scary thought for Tim and Company.

Conversely to not try and help the USA with their intelligence needs is a horrible choice.
This is falsehood the government is peddling, that Apple is not trying to help. That's complete BS.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JackieInCo Avatar
108 months ago
Thank you Apple, Google, Twitter and Facebook for standing together on this.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rdlink Avatar
108 months ago
...Conversely to not try and help the USA with their intelligence needs is a horrible choice.
Behold the low information voter.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
108 months ago
It's Apple's product and no, the government isn't a cutting edge technology company. That's just one reason they can't do it alone.

Apple is the master of mind control over their users. They've done a brilliant job of convincing millions that Apple is a warm fuzzy organization that's protecting their poor defenseless customers.

Even in the pre-iPhone days Apple Hyped Macs as the ultimate in security. Mercilessly bashing Microsoft. Karma has dealt Apple a blow. Now Apple's being called out and they've been backed into a corner.

This show is about to get very interesting.
The facts are Apple has provided iCloud data to the FBI. They've been working with the FBI to try and find a way to get the data they're looking for short of allowing a back door to the phone. It's the FBI that wants the public to believe Apple is refusing to help. And I'll bet the majority of the public doesn't even know this was a phone owned by the county and that this guy destroyed his personal phone(s) and hard drive. This phone had a wealth of valuable information on it why didn't he destroy it too?

As secretive as Apple has been I'm surprised they weren't smart enough to resolve this secretly before it turned into a public spectacle.

Now the world is watching a fight that will surely entertain.

Will Apple cave in?
Apple said it wanted this to remain under seal but the FBI chose to make it public.

What about the other precedent? The one where CEOs can just ignore legitimate court orders?
Apple has until the 26th to respond. They're going to appeal it. Last time I checked that was legal.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)