A US judge has demanded that Apple helps the FBI to access the encrypted contents of the cell phone of one of the perpetrators of the attack of San Bernardino, which had killed 14 people early December in California, a decision strongly challenged by giant computing.
“Apple will allow research on a cell phone” (5C iPhone), and “providing reasonable technical assistance to help the agents of law enforcement to get access to data on the device,” wrote California judge Sheri Pym in its decision Tuesday.
In its judgment, it calls in particular on Apple to provide a usable only on this specific device software, and allowing investigators to bypass the automatic erasure of data which normally comes after a number of unsuccessful attempts to guess the unlock password.
This request is “unprecedented” and “security threat” of Apple’s customers, has protested his boss Tim Cook in a long letter posted on the company’s website.
In recent months, US authorities require a more and more pressing using technology groups in the fight against the jihadists that encrypt increasing their messages, but industry, stung by the scandal of the NSA and conscious their image with the public, are not enthusiastic about the idea of lowering the encryption level.
“We oppose this decision has implications far beyond the legal framework of this case,” he wrote.
“Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in their power to protect their personal information,” and that’s why the group uses encryption, justifies the boss of the Apple brand.
“When the FBI asked for data that we had in our possession, we have provided them,” he says.
“But the US government now asks us something we do not have and something we consider too dangerous to be created. They asked us to design a roundabout way of getting into the iPhone, “he adds.
“The government suggests that this tool could only be used once,” notes Tim Cook. “But that’s just not true. Once created, the technique could be used to infinity on all types of devices. ”
“Ultimately, we fear that this demand starts to harm the freedoms that our government is supposed to protect,” he concludes.
The federal police (FBI) and the US intelligence agencies are campaigning for several months for the manufacturers of smartphones and other electronic devices allow a possibility of access to the contents of these objects in case of a court order.
The big technology groups indeed offer more tamper proof products and applications, which only the user holds the key, and rejected to date requests for access to encrypted data in the context of criminal investigations.
Encryption has become for businesses commercial argument after the revelations of Edward Snowden on the extent of the wiretapping of American Security Agency (NSA).
In the case of San Bernardino, the FBI Director James Comey, was still lamented last week that two months after the tragedy, “there is always a phone murderers that we have not managed to open” .
“We have made a solemn commitment to the victims and their families that we will spare no effort and we will gather as much information and evidence as possible”, said for his part the federal prosecutor of central California Eileen Decker.