Judge orders Apple to help feds hack terrorist’s iPhone

February 17, 2016

Syed Rizwan FarookA federal judge ordered Apple Inc. to help the FBI break into the passcode-encrypted iPhone of the lead terrorist in the San Bernardino massacre. The company responded with a statement saying the order undermines decades of security advancements and threatens the security of all Apple users.

Following the Dec. 2 terror attack that killed 14 people, federal agents seized the iPhone of shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, who died in a gun battle with officers. FBI agents have tried to crack the phone’s passcode encryption but have failed to do so.

The FBI says it is unable to crack the code because Apple created a user-enabled “auto-erase function” that makes the information on the phone permanently inaccessible after 10 failed attempts at inputting the passcode. That function was enabled on Farook’s phone.

On behalf of the FBI, federal attorneys filed a court motion asking a judge to order Apple to create software allowing investigators to bypass or disable the auto-erase function and to enter passcodes without the prospect of facing delays for failed attempts.

The motion stated the FBI needs access to the device to determine who Farook and Tashfeen Malik, his wife and co-attacker, may have communicated with to plan and carry out the shootings. The FBI also wants to determine where Farook and Malik may have traveled before the incident and other pertinent information relating to their involvement and the involvement of others.

As legal justification, federal attorneys cited the All Writs Act, which give courts the power to issue all orders “necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of the law.”

On Tuesday, Judge Sheri Pym granted the FBI’s request, ordering Apple to provide reasonable technical assistance to unlock the iPhone.

Later Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded with a statement saying the company will challenge the court order.

“While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products,” Cook wrote. “And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”

Cook said the FBI wants Apple to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, which would circumvent important security features. In the wrong hands, the software would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession, Cook said.

“In today’s digital world, the ‘key’ to an encrypted system is a piece of information that unlocks data, and it is only as secure as the protections around it,” Cook stated. “In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.”



  1. r0y says:

    This is so wrong, it’s not funny. Holy cow, people, at what point do we say “NO!”?

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • achillesheal says:

      If Apple with all of its money, brains and resources loses this case, you can no longer say no.

      The constitution will officially be dead.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. kayaknut says:

    So all the billions or trillions of taxpayer money funneled to the NSA and their super secret places around the country, gathering everything from everyone and they can’t unlock a phone?

    (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
  3. achillesheal says:

    So the Government is now ordering businesses to create software to break their own security.
    Figure it out yourselves yoiu government pukes.

    (5) 17 Total Votes - 11 up - 6 down
  4. Rambunctious says:

    The two murderers and their families should have never even been here….I blame the Feds for that. For the Feds to scream at Apple as if this whole thing is their fault is embarrassing and outrageous. The first thing Trump or whomever needs to do when they win is dismantle everything and start all over. PERIOD! Believe me if the FBI can get into your phone so could anyone else. This is the same crowd that brought us the Obamacare website.
    This nation has had mass deportation before and if you think it won’t happen again you’re not thinking.

    (9) 31 Total Votes - 20 up - 11 down
    • Rambunctious says:

      It’s not Apples fault that we have terrorist and undesirables in our Nation. Pay attention folks!

      (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down
      • isoslo says:

        However if Apple, or any other Fortune 500 corporation, could increase profits by a respectable 2% per year I do not believe they would care much if a few unimportant humans lost their lives due to increased risk of terrorist death. Remember folks all that really matters is share price!

        (-9) 17 Total Votes - 4 up - 13 down
        • achillesheal says:

          “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery” – Winston Churchill

          (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
    • paragon says:

      “The two murderers and their families should have never even been here….I blame the Feds for that.”

      One of the two murderers was a natural-born citizen from Chicago and had no criminal record, so if he “should have never even been here”, where exactly do you think he should have been?

      (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
      • Rambunctious says:

        I’m not an elected official so I can say this….his wife should have been scrutinized closer and not allowed to enter the US. And people like Syed that show signs of supporting terrorism, American born or not would have their citizenship revoked.

        (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  5. racket says:

    So the FBI forensic data team fumbled by trying the wrong password and therefore erased any useful data.

    It is these same geniuses you want to give unfettered access to YOUR iPhone?

    (16) 34 Total Votes - 25 up - 9 down
  6. Fedup says:

    I am much more fearful of the United States government and what it has become than I have ever been of ISIS.

    (19) 45 Total Votes - 32 up - 13 down
    • kayaknut says:

      Not that I am a fan of the government but if you feel this way, I am sure we can gather up enough money for a one-way ticket for you to Syria, Iraq, Iran or such.

      (-2) 16 Total Votes - 7 up - 9 down
      • achillesheal says:

        That argument is such a red herring. You’re not a fan of the US Government so move to Syria or Iran.
        We live in the United States and the US Government as dictated by the US Constitution is the greatest government created by man as it restricted government. Unfortunately those in government have trampled the Constitution and no longer let it restrict them.

        We want our country back not to move to some 3rd world middle east hell hole.

        (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
        • r0y says:

          Excellent reply! Unfortunately, idiots and fools will never comprehend this – and they are now legion… and vote.

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  7. itneverends says:

    This a-hole murdered several normal, law-abiding people who were just going about their business earning a living for their families and, perhaps, doing some public good on their jobs.

    The County of San Bernardino now owns the phone.

    If the FBI knows the contents it may be able to use them to prevent other disasters.

    A neutral court order has been issued–the FBI has real cause, as determined by a judge.

    Apple can do this in private and simply share the results with the investigators.

    My rights aren’t being violated, and neither are Apples’.

    So, what the hell is the problem? Less business in the future for ISIS and others like them? What is the real problem?

    (-1) 55 Total Votes - 27 up - 28 down
    • bobfromsanluis says:

      “So, what the hell is the problem?”

      How about giving the federal government a backdoor to every single iPhone in the world? No thanks.

      (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
    • mkaney says:

      What the hell is the problem? The problem is that the FBI can get all the records they need from the cell phone company and any email services. They are using this as an excuse to get Apple to create a back door so that they can easily get into any phone and collect such information in the future, WITHOUT a warrant.

      The REAL problem is that so many Americans still don’t see that our own agencies are not operating in the interest of protecting real American values. Hopefully, understanding the reality of this will make you question a little bit more.

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  8. Jorge Estrada says:

    There is a very good chance that all has been done and viewed but it has to be taken legally before it can be used as evidence. Your smart phone and computer networks are like avatars that remember where, when and what was said and done. You pay for this data gathering. Like they say, ” I have nothing to hide, so I don’t care”. I’d think long and hard about that statement, there is a growing chance that you can be firmly replaced by you or should I say, the other you that has already prepared better legal case.

    (13) 19 Total Votes - 16 up - 3 down

    Look out, they do not need Apple to do this they are just trying to get a way to get into our private lives.

    (14) 26 Total Votes - 20 up - 6 down
    • Rambunctious says:

      If only “they” were that smart….we are governed by a PC government. They suck at everything but they make you feel good about yourself.

      (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
    • miles archer says:

      Nothing paranoid in THAT post (eyes rolling)…

      (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
      • mkaney says:

        Why is it paranoid? Since most of the information that would be on the phone would also be available from phone company and email services records and logs, why would they need Apple to create a backdoor?

        You don’t have to be paranoid to see that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, unless the FBI is seeking the creation of a permanent back door that it can use when it wants, likely without a warrant.

        (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down

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