Apple ordered to assist in unlocking San Bernardino shooting suspect; Tim Cook says no

Apple said that it opposes a federal court order to help the FBI unlock an iPhone that was used by a San Bernardino attacker.

The iPhone that the FBI wants to unlock is owned by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the attackers in the San Bernardino, California shooting that killed 14 people in December last year.

The order was made by Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym of the Federal District Court for the District of Central California.

In a statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company is opposing the order. “Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us.”

Cook added that Apple has done everything within its power and within the law to assist the FBI. “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.”

The statement adds: “Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing 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 December attack, which took place at a holiday party in a social services center, was conducted by Farook and his wife, who was also killed in a shootout with police.

The information that the FBI wants from the attackers is the extent that the couple were influenced by radical Islamist terror groups, as well as the people they were communicating with at the time of the attack.

“Apple has the exclusive technical means which would assist the government in completing its search, but has declined to provide that assistance voluntarily,” said prosecutors.