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Will Apple help unlock the iPhone used by San Bernardino attacker?

These days, everyone is curious if Apple will finally decide to help the FBI and unlock the iPhone used by the San Bernardino attackers. As a quick reminder, last year in December, Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook, her husband, have shot and killed 14 people. In the end, they died in a gun battle with the police and their iPhone was recovered from their vehicle after the attack.

Unfortunately, federal prosecutors have declared that they could not access the phone used by the couple because they don’t know its passcode. So, Shery Pym, U.S Magistrate, required Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the FBI. This means that Apple should provide a software that can disable the security feature that erases data from the phone after too many attempts to unlock it.

So, if the security feature is disabled, the FBI could try as many combinations as necessary to unlock the device.

"Despite ... a warrant authorizing the search," prosecutors declared. "The government has been unable to complete the search because it cannot access the iPhone's encrypted content. Apple has the exclusive technical means which would assist the government in completing its search, but has declined to provide that assistance voluntarily."

The device in question is an iPhone 5C, which belonged to Syed Farook, who, alongside Tashfeen Malik, engaged in the tragic mass shooting during the event that took place at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. To be added that Syed worked at that place until last December.

So, authorities want access to data on the iPhone and are seeking Apple’s help to break the passcode by creating a software which would circumvent the security's system. To be added that beyond the passcode itself, the phone’s security measures include an “auto-erase function” which would be activated after entering the passcode incorrectly 10 times.

Unfortunately, Tim Cook has declared that they would not create a “backdoor” for the iPhone, because this will be dangerous for all their clients. He also wrote a letter to Apple customers:

"We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone"

Tim Cook is also unhappy that authorities are using the All Writs Act to make the request to Apple to create a software that will seriously weaken the iPhone’s security system:

“The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. 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 government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge,” Tim Cook has concluded.
Will Apple help unlock the iPhone used by San Bernardino attacker? Reviewed by Mike Beasley on 2/20/2016 04:33:00 PM Rating: 5

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