A judge has ruled that the U.S Department of Justice cannot force Apple to unlock the iPhone belonging to a terrorist. The news comes after the tech giant was issued an order to help the FBI with all processes to find out more about the San Bernardino shooting and his connections. There are suspicions that his phone could lead to other terrorists, their groups and any plots.
Tim Cook has stated that he would not create code that would get the FBI into the locked iPhone, saying that it would mean innocent people would be at risk from hackers. Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone was locked with encrypted code that even Apple employees are unable to break. It would have meant new code being created, and the FBI demanded that the iPhone creator do this. Apple resisted, saying that the demand would be “dangerous.”
While the reason was legitimate this time—Farook and his wife killed 14 people in a shooting in San Bernardino last year—the work around would open the door for hackers in the future. It is impossible to create code just for the good guys to use, and it would affect the privacy of individuals. Apple had been at the center of a scandal last year, when Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities’ iCloud accounts were hacked, and nude photos shared online.
There were some who argued Apple should work with the FBI as much as possible. However, Salihin Kondoker, who was widowed due to the shooting, says that Apple should not have to force access to the iPhone 5C. It would breach the privacy of individuals, and he does not believe there would be that much valuable information on the shooter’s phone. He says that the phone was a work one, and would not have been used for personal communication, similar to the way his late wife used her phone. He also said that he did not want a world where privacy is traded in for security, according to the Guardian.
A New York judge has now said that the U.S. Department of Justice cannot force Apple to help. However, this is a different case and has no direct ruling on the one regarding the FBI. The tech giant believes that the New York decision does help to strengthen its current position regarding the second case. Apple will continue to stand against the idea of creating makeshift code to break into the iPhone 5C.
The U.S. Department of Justice was trying to use the All Writs Act against Apple, but the New York judge said that the 200-year-old act does not apply, according to the BBC. This is the same law being used by the FBI, again making Apple believe that it has a good stance to go against the current ruling against it.
There are still mixed views over the case. While there are some siding with Apple, considering the danger new code could have over their privacy and security, there are others who side with the FBI. They do not agree that the privacy of a terrorist, who is now dead, should be protected. Nor do they agree with the privacy of other terrorists being protected. However, Cook makes it very clear that this is not about protecting the rights of the bad guys, but protecting the privacy of everyone.
The U.S. Department of Justice is going to appeal against the ruling made on Monday. It views this has a matter of national security, and wants to do everything possible to prevent threats against American citizens. Apple continues to thank the families of the San Bernardino victims for their support in the matter to protect privacy.