Federal judge orders Apple to help FBI hack iPhone
Feb 18, 2016 03:53 AM EST
A federal magistrate judge has ordered Apple to help FBI in accessing the information locked on a suspected San Bernardino's gunman iPhone.
According to Associated Press, Magistrate Sheri Pym of the U.S. District Court of Central California on Tuesday ordered the tech giant to provide the FBI with software designed to defeat a self-destruct mechanism on the iPhone.
The iPhone's self-destruct mechanism automatically erases data on a phone after ten failed passwords attempts, or erases a key that could be used to decrypt the data. Defeating the self-destruct mechanism would allow FBI agents to attempt to open the phone using multiple password tries without worrying that the data will be erased.
Within hours after the judge's ruling on Tuesday, Apple said that it would refuse the court order to help FBI unlocking the suspect's iPhone.
Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, promised a court challenge. He said a defeat software to help FBI unlocking the phone would be too dangerous to create and undeniably a backdoor.
Cook said that once a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with the knowledge.
The Hill reported that lawmakers are already preparing a bill that could force tech firms to comply with the kind of court order targeting Apple.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr has been working with his committee ranking member, Senator Dianne Feinstein, on the bill that may outlaw Apple's refusal to the court order.
Burr said that court orders are not optional and Apple should comply.
This is not the only case that law enforcement investigators seek Apple's aid in accessing the iPhone data of criminal suspects, as noted by USA Today,
The U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of New York federal court issued an order on Tuesday asking Apple to provide details on a case in Brooklyn. A defendant in the case was pleaded guilty in October to being part of a conspiracy to possess and distribute metamphetamine.
Magistrate Orenstein ordered Apple to provide the court jurisdictions, the types of electronic devices on operating systems at issue and the company's position on the case.
The company's attorney Marc Zwillinger wrote in Feb. 12 filing to Magistrate Orenstein that Apple joined federal prosecutors in seeking a ruling on the iPhone issue because the company has been told investigators in other cases also will seek Apple's help in bypassing the security of other iPhones in the government's possession.
The attorney wrote in the filing that Apple has received additional requests similar to the Brooklyn case.