What happens when the most profitable company on earth clashes with the freaking FBI? As it turns out, this is no longer a rhetorical question. Mobile monolith Apple is currently embroiled in a tense legal battle with the U.S. government. This comes on the heels of a request by the feds for Apple to “unlock” the smartphone owned by one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino massacre last December.
Apple Overlord Tim Cook released a public letter in which he condemned the FBI’s request for Apple to unlock the shooter’s smartphone, claiming that doing so would be tantamount to hacking their own devices. Cook cited the incredible security risk this would pose to every single iPhone user, calling the FBI’s mandate “an overreach by the U.S. government,” CNN reported.
“The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices,” Cook wrote in his statement. “In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.”
The government requested that Apple engineers create a new version of the company’s iOS operating system that circumvents the built-in security features – what essentially amounts to a “completely unlocked” operating system that would enable investigators to, among other things, access the phone without a password, including any and all data stored on it.