The US government made an unusual request to Apple. They wanted the company to install a backdoor entry for the iPhone in order to aid the FBI in an ongoing investigation.
iPhone has a security feature in which if the passcode is entered incorrectly more than 10 times, the phone automatically wipes all data from its storage. Giving a backdoor entry to the FBI will seriously weaken the encryption technology in the phone.
Describing the request as “chilling”, Cook said in a letter to customers that his company would not comply with a judge’s order to “brute force” its way into the iPhone 5C of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The letter from Cook said the FBI wanted the company to make a new version of the iPhone’s operating system so it could get around security features.
“In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession,” he wrote. “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. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”
Apple had provided as much data to authorities from Farook’s phone as was possible, but added that it would not help the FBI unlock the device so it could have unfettered access claimed Cook. “In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.”
He went on to say that the company would challenge the court order and if it did comply with the request it would set a “dangerous precedent” as the technique could be used on any iPhone. “The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals,” Cook wrote. “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.“