Apple is coming under fire for its refusal to comply with an FBI request to unlock an iPhone 5c used by one of two terrorists in December’s San Bernardino mass shooting. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym ruled earlier this week that Apple must provide “reasonable technical assistance” in helping the FBI bypass security measures to unlock the iPhone, but Apple isn’t budging.
“[They have] asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in an open letter to customers. “They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone [which would circumvent] several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation.
“In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession. The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor.”
Not one to keep his opinion out of hot topics when it suits his interests, presidential candidate Donald Trump waded into the encryption waters, opining about Apple, “Who do they think they are?
“This is one case and this is a case that certainly we should be able to get into the phone," Trump added. "And we should find out what happened, why it happened, and maybe there's other people involved. And we have to do that."
If that isn’t enough, Trump ratcheted up his bluster this afternoon during a South Carolina rally, hoping to hit Apple where it hurts: its wallet.
"First of all, Apple ought to give the security for that phone, OK,” said Trump when speaking to a group of his supporters. "What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number."
And in true Trump style, he just couldn’t stop there. "How do you like that? I just thought of it. Boycott Apple.”
There you have it folks; Apple shouldn’t really be worried about the Department of Justice or even the FBI… it had better watch out for Donald Trump. Because if Trump “just thought of it,” who knows what he could come up with if he had the time to actually sit down and really ponder about what complying with the court order will do to the privacy of Americans and the state of encryption going forward. And come to think of it, it’s not even an “American” problem, countries around the world are looking at this case to see just how far they can make Apple bend once the U.S. Government starts applying some pressure.