- Deadline for Apple to respond to court order is Feb. 26
- FBI pushing Apple to help access California shooter's phone
Apple Inc. is getting more time to argue against a court order that would force it to break into the iPhone of a shooter in a terrorist attack in California, a standoff that pits the company’s push to protect customers’ privacy against the U.S. government’s efforts to fight crime.
The company’s response in court will be due Feb. 26 instead of Tuesday, said two people familiar with the timeline, who asked not to be identified because the matter wasn’t public. The federal magistrate who on Feb. 16 granted the Justice Department’s request for an order forcing Apple to help the FBI had given the company five business days to oppose her order.
Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has said the company will fight the court order that it create a security workaround for the FBI to access the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, who was killed in a shootout with law enforcement in San Bernardino, on Dec. 2. He called the demand by authorities a dangerous precedent that could lead to the government getting hold of “surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”
The Justice Department wants Apple to provide customized software that will prevent the data on the phone from being deleted after 10 attempts to input the passcode. The software also must enable agents to send electronic passcodes to the phone, rather than manually typing them in, according to the application. The software would allow agents to automatically enter multiple passcodes to get around the encryption standards.
Cook likened the federal order to creating a “master key” that could be used to unlock any number of other iPhones in use around the globe.
“While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products,” Cook wrote in a letter to Apple’s customers after Tuesday’s order. “Ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
The case is: In the matter of the search of an Apple iPhone seized during the execution of a search warrant on a black Lexus IS300, 15-00451, U.S. District Court, Central District of California.