Tim Cook: Software to unlock killer's iPhone 'equivalent of cancer'

Apple boss Tim Cook says unlocking an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino killers would be “bad for America”.

The FBI is demanding that Apple override security features on an iPhone used by Syed Farook – one of two extremists who killed 14 people in the Southern California city in December.

But Cook says the authorities are asking his company to “write a piece of software that we view as sort of the equivalent of cancer”.

(Mark Lennihan/AP)

He expressed sympathy for the victims’ families, but said: “Some things are hard and some things are right, and some things are both. This is one of those things.

“This would be bad for America. It would also set a precedent that I believe many people in America would be offended by.”

FBI director James Comey has argued that a court order directing Apple to override security features would apply to only one phone, but Cook disputed this.

(Luca Bruno/AP)

“If a court can ask us to write this piece of software, think about what else they could ask us to write,” Cook said.

“Maybe it’s an operating system for surveillance. Maybe it’s the ability for law enforcement to turn on the camera. I mean, I don’t know where this stops.”

Cook said he would take the case to the US Supreme Court and would make his case directly to President Barack Obama.

Both sides in the dispute are courting public support through interviews and published statements, while also mustering legal arguments in the case. Apple is expected to file its legal response to the judge’s order by Friday.

 

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