APPLE SAYS IT WILL FIGHT A GOVERNMENT ORDER TO HELP THE FBI HACK INTO AN ENCRYPTED IPHONE BELONGING TO SYED FAROOK, ONE OF THE SHOOTERS WHO KILLED 14 PEOPLE IN SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA LATE LAST YEAR.
THE DECISION SETS THE STAGE FOR A LEGAL BATTLE WITH BROAD IMPLICATIONS FOR DIGITAL PRIVACY AND NATIONAL SECURITY.
"This is really a landmark case and the government here is really reaching beyond the Fourth Amendment. It's not even a Fourth Amendment issue about a search or seizure. The government doesn't want to search anything that Apple has and Apple doesn't even possess anything. Rather Apple is being ordered to create something new to be able to unlock the iPhone."
THE RULING REQUIRES APPLE TO CREATE SOFTWARE THE FBI WOULD USE TO BYPASS A SELF-DESTRUCT FEATURE THAT ERASES AN iPHONE'S DATA AFTER TOO MANY UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS TO UNLOCK IT.
THE WHITE HOUSE SAYS THE RULING ISN'T A REQUEST FOR A BACK DOOR TO ONE OF APPLE'S PRODUCTS.
SOUNDBITE (English)Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary:
"They're simply asking for something that would have an impact on this one device."
IN A LETTER POSTED ON THE COMPANY WEBSITE, CEO TIM COOK'S CALLED THE RULING A GOVERNMENT OVERREACH.
ON-SCREEN: "The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices... the equivalent of a master key... No reasonable person would find that acceptable."
APPLE SAYS THAT ENABLING THAT ACCESS WOULD UNDERMINE THE SECURITY OF MILLIONS OF USERS.
MANY U.S. AGENCIES, INCLUDING THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC MANAGEMENT AND THE IRS HAVE RECENTLY FALLEN PREY TO HACKINGS.
"if Apple is right and if this technology ends up getting disclosed then their privacy, all the information on their iPhones could be at risk. You could be at risk for losing her personal privacy on your medical information, on your banking information."
FAROOK AND HIS WIFE TOOK PAINS TO PHYSICALLY DESTROY TWO OTHER CELL PHONES, CRUSHING THEM BEYOND THE FBI'S ABILITY TO RECOVER INFORMATION FROM THEM.
UNLOCKING FAROOK'S WORK CELL PHONE COULD HELP INVESTIGATORS PIECE THE MISSING 18 MINUTES IN THEIR TIMELINE FROM THAT DAY.