Apple opposes Judge’s order to unlock San Bernardino shooter’s phone

By: The Associated Press & Rebecca Turco

Email: rturco@abc6.com

WASHINGTON (AP) – Although the CEO of Apple says an order from a federal magistrate could threaten the security of millions of iPhones, the White House doesn’t see it that way.

The magistrate ordered Apple to help the FBI hack into an iPhone that had been used by one of the shooters who carried out the massacre in San Bernardino, California last year.

But Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company will resist. He says the administration is trying to get Apple to build a “backdoor” that would bypass digital locks protecting consumer information on iPhones. And he says the software would be “too dangerous to create.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest disagrees. He says the court isn’t trying to get Apple to “redesign its product” or “create a new backdoor.” Instead, Earnest says, the order would “have an impact on this one device.”

At the center of the debate is the private information carried on nearly 900 million iPhones sold worldwide. Local users are divided over this. “"It’s going to open a door to: where does our privacy begin and where does it end," said Dana Rodriguez of Pawtucket. He feels this court order sets a dangerous president.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, disagrees. “There are dangerous precedents that go both ways,” he explained. “If there was information critical to a terrorist investigation that we could not get, then that becomes a dangerous precedent on that side."

In Congress, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Richard  Burr, said, “Court orders are not optional and Apple should comply.” Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she thought the government should be able to access the phone. On the campaign trail, Republican Donald Trump said he agreed “100 percent with the courts.”

© WLNE-TV / AP, 2016