By Carolyn Solar |Staff Writer|
In response to the San Bernardino mass shooting on Dec. 2, 2015, the FBI asked Apple to design a software that would allow them to gain access to the iPhones used by shooters Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik.
Apple is refusing to cooperate with the demands the court has ordered.
With access to the phone, the FBI is hoping to find out whether others were involved in the attack.
Specifically, the FBI wants the company to disable the feature that wipes an iPhone clean after 10 password entry attempts.
In a situation as severe as this one, why is Apple refusing to assist the government?
Unlocking the device would allow FBI access to pictures, messages and other personal data, according to Apple.
Apple executives worry that this access would give potential to unlock any iPhone.
Apple has already granted access to the data from the phone that was backed up on the attacker’s iCloud that had been backed up a month before the incident.
Apple CEO Tim Cook refuses to allow the undermining of its devices for these purposes.
“The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe,” Cook, wrote in a press release on the company’s site.
Apple fears that allowing access this one time would open the door for the FBI to breech Apple security in other situations.
The Department of Justice argues that Apple has helped law enforcement unlock phones in the past and that the company has the capability to do so again.
Although Apple agrees that this system could be created, they do not think it is ethical.
“Ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect,” stated Cook.
FBI Director James Comey said that this case is about justice for San Bernardino and accessing this information could release answers needed in this case.
“Fourteen people were slaughtered and many more had their lives and bodies ruined. We owe them a thorough and professional investigation under law,” according to an open letter written by Corney published in Lawfare Blog.
They are also accusing Apple of prioritizing “public brand marketing strategy” over a complex investigation.
For some, solving some of the mysteries to the case is essential in receiving closure from this traumatic event.
As members of the San Bernardino community, students have mixed reviews on the issue.
“It is beneficial for the phones to be unlocked so they can determine the motives,” said student Justine Farinelli. “I think it could work if they create a contract agreement on preventing future breeches.”
“I can see why iPhone users would be hesitant for Apple to allow this access, but at the same time, this incident was very close to home and it was pretty recent, so I think finding new information in this case would help San Bernardino in its healing process,” said student Evan Peckels.
Some of the biggest names in the tech world, like Google, Facebook, Twitter and even Bill Gates have chosen to side with the concern of consumer privacy.
The motion hearing for this case is said to take place on March 22, 2016.
Although the Constitution protects Apple from being forced by the government to hack into the data, refusing to comply could lead to a “tech industry nightmare.”