After Apple was ordered to unlock Syed Farook’s iPhone 5C and it refused to do so, FBI Director James Comey resorted to pleading with the company. Farook and his wife killed 14 people during a Christmas party at the end of last year in San Bernardino, California. The chief executive of Apple Tim Cook wrote in an open letter that “The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand”.
In a letter published on the Lawfare Blog yesterday, Comey wrote that “The relief we seek is limited and its value increasingly obsolete because the technology continues to evolve. We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly. That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land. I hope thoughtful people will take the time to understand that. Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists. Maybe it doesn’t. But we can’t look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don’t follow this lead”
The FBI wants to use “Brutal Force” technology that tries to decipher millions of passwords without erasing the contents of the phone. At the same time, the great controversy amongst Americans surrounding the conflict between the freedom and privacy of citizens and the demands of those responsible for security continues. Last week, the Republican candidate for the presidency Donald Trump tweeted that Americans should “Boycott all Apple products in order to help those responsible for security in the investigation of the massacre carried out by the terrorist couple in California”.