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Apple to reject court order from FBI to unlock the mobile of known terrorist

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has stated that, "The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers."

"We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand."

Tim Cook Apple Chief Executive

The tech giant has been ordered by US court to help the FBI decrypt or circumvent security software on Syed Rizwan Farook's iPhone, which the FBI stated contained important information on the San Bernardino shooter.

Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik opened fire on a social services agency in California in December last year, injuring 22 and killing 14.

The FBI are treating the incident as domestic terrorism and have been investigating potential ties between Farook, Isis and other militant groups.

Data on Apple devices is encrypted by default and has been since September 2014. If an Apple device is locked, only the user's passcode can be used to access the device. If someone else is attempting to access your device and fails to input the correct code after 10 attempts all the data on the device will be automatically erased.

Apple have stated that even their own staff cannot access this data, this follows a move that Apple made following the Edward Snowden leaks into government surveillance.

Farook has apparently used a four-digit passcode which means that there are over 10,000 possible combinations of passcode with only one correct code that could be used to unlock the device.

There are two things that the FBI want Apple to do for them:

  1. Alter Farook's iPhone so that FBI investigators can make unlimited attempts at the passcode that is currently preventing access onto the device, this way they don't run the risk of loosing data.

  2. The FBI want Apple to implement a new way of rapidly allowing passcodes to be entered to attempt unlocking the device, instead of having to enter each attempted passcode manually.

 Apple have stated that the FBI's requests set "a dangerous precident".

Tim Cook has written that, "The FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation,"

Cook also added, "The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers."

"We have no sympathy for terrorists, we are challenging the FBI's demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country."