White House Says FBI Doesn’t Want Backdoor Access to all iPhones

A court ruling asking Apple to give the FBI access to the information on an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters does not mean the agency wants a backdoor to one of its products, the White House said. Rather, the FBI just wants access to the data on that one device.

Earlier this week Cook wrote a letter to customers explaining why he flat out refuses to comply with a court order to unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino gunman Farook Malik. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has ordered Apple to help the FBI access the data on Malik's iPhone.

In a court filing Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker referred to unlocking the device as ?EU?another step -- a potentially important step -- in the process of learning everything we possibly can about the attack in San Bernardino."

On December 2, Malik and his wife, Tashfeen, shot at people gathered at an event for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. The couple killed 14 people and seriously wounded 20 others. Farook and his wife were killed in a shootout with police. Since the attack, authorities have been going through their belongings, including their smartphones, trying to determine their motives and whether they were part of a larger terrorist plot.

Cook is known for taking strong stands for consumer privacy. He has publicly attacked Facebook and Google -- and the U.S. government -- for undermining the privacy rights of American citizens. Now, some are saying his latest stand could be his ultimate legacy.

White House Responds

?EU?Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them,?EU? Cook said. ?EU?But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do...

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