Donald Trump, Justice Department launch fresh attack on Apple over iPhone contents
Apple’s refusal to create a “back door” into an iPhone used by a terrorist in the recent San Bernardino mass shooting has drawn a boycott call from presidential candidate Donald Trump and a fresh rebuke from the Department of Justice.
According to CNN coverage of a campaign event in South Carolina, Trump told supporters that “Apple ought to give the security for that phone, OK. What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such a time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought of it. Boycott Apple.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is calling for a boycott of Apple over the company’s refusal to build a “back door” into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.
“The phone’s not even owned by this young thug that killed all these people. The phone’s owned by the government, OK, it’s not even his phone,” Trump continued. “But (Apple CEO) Tim Cook is looking to do a big number, probably to show how liberal he is. But Apple should give up, they should get the security or find other people.”
Trump’s comments are the latest escalation in a showdown between Apple and the FBI over access to an iPhone used by a shooter in the December attacks that left 14 dead.
Earlier this week, the FBI sought Apple’s assistance in building a so-called back door into the iPhone. In response, Tim Cook wrote an open letter noting that Apple complies with law-enforcement requests to provide customer data, but this situation is different..
“Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system,” Cook’s letter states, “circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.
“The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.”
In contrast to Trump, Cook’s stance drew praise from several tech leaders.
Also on Friday, the FBI said in a court filing Apple’s refusal “appears to be based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy” and not a legal rationale. “Rather than assist the effort to fully investigate a deadly terrorist attack by obeying this court’s order of February 16, 2016, Apple has responded by publicly repudiating that order.”
On Thursday, Apple had been given an additional three days to respond to the order, with a Feb. 26 deadline. The Justice Department now wants an immediate decision from the court.
The Cupertino company has hired legal heavyweights Theodore Olson and Theodore Boutrous from the law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher LLP, which is also working on a separate Apple case involving e-books, according to The Wall Street Journal.