WASHINGTON — Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook says his company will resist a federal magistrate’s order to hack its own users in connection with the investigation of the San Bernardino, California shootings.
In a statement posted early Wednesday on the company’s website, Cook argued that such a move would undermine encryption by creating a backdoor that could potentially be used on other future devices.
Cook’s letter was a direct and ferocious response to an order from U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym that Apple Inc. help the Obama administration break into an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the shooters in the December attack.
“The implications of the government’s demands are chilling,” Cook said. “If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data.”
The first-of-its-kind ruling was a significant victory for the Justice Department in a technology policy debate that pits digital privacy against national security interests.
New York City Police Commissioner Bratton applauded the judge’s order, saying:
“I commend U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym for the ruling in support of the FBI’s continuing investigation into the San Bernardino terrorist attack. No device, no car, and no apartment should be beyond the reach of a court ordered search warrant.
As the threats from ISIL become more divergent and complex, we cannot give those seeking to harm us additional tools to keep their activity secret. I reiterate my call on Congress to act immediately in passing legislation to provide law enforcement the tools we need to keep America safe.”