Apple is defending itself after FBI Director Christopher Wray accused Apple on Monday of not helping the bureau open up an iPhone belonging to terrorists that conducted an attack at a Naval Air Station in Flordia in December. Even though they did manage to obtain access to the iPhone. Addiotnaly, the US Attorney General William Barr says that Apple’s decision not to help the government has “dangerous consequences for public safety and national security”
Wray at a press conference said that Apple provided no help in obtaining data from the iPhone and that engineers had to spend “months” trying to crack open the device apart of its investigation. Apple via a statement from Bloomberg says that the false claims made by the FBI are simply a ploy to weaken encryption across the board,
“The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security,”
Apple continued to push back aggressively saying it helped the FBI “hours” after the attack took place and emphasized its role in safeguarding US national security. Apple’s full statement about this case can be found below:
The terrorist attack on members of the US armed services at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida was a devastating and heinous act. Apple responded to the FBI’s first requests for information just hours after the attack on December 6, 2019 and continued to support law enforcement during their investigation. We provided every piece of information available to us, including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts, and we lent continuous and ongoing technical and investigative support to FBI offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola and New York over the months since.
On this and many thousands of other cases, we continue to work around-the-clock with the FBI and other investigators who keep Americans safe and bring criminals to justice. As a proud American company, we consider supporting law enforcement’s important work our responsibility. The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security.
It is because we take our responsibility to national security so seriously that we do not believe in the creation of a backdoor — one which will make every device vulnerable to bad actors who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. There is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys, and the American people do not have to choose between weakening encryption and effective investigations.
Customers count on Apple to keep their information secure and one of the ways in which we do so is by using strong encryption across our devices and servers. We sell the same iPhone everywhere, we don’t store customers’ passcodes and we don’t have the capacity to unlock passcode-protected devices. In data centers, we deploy strong hardware and software security protections to keep information safe and to ensure there are no backdoors into our systems. All of these practices apply equally to our operations in every country in the world.
This echoes the same story from 2015 and the San Bernardino attack. Investigators recovered an iPhone 5C belonging to the shooter and requested Apple’s help to obtain information.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company gave everything it had about the device and the user, but any more information would have required engineers to create a backdoor for iOS that would expose millions of users around the world. The incident placed Apple in heavy political criticism from both sides of the aisles, with some saying it wasn’t respecting the country its meant to serve.