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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday called for a boycott of Apple unless the computer company helps the FBI access encrypted data on the phone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is resisting a judge’s order that Apple cooperate, saying the company is being asked to "build a backdoor to the iPhone" that could be used to access other users’ phones, not just Farook’s device.
"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, you'll find other people," Trump said Friday.
Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire on a meeting of county workers on Dec. 2, killing 14 people, in an attack investigators believe was inspired by international terrorism.
They were killed hours later in a firefight with police. Investigators are trying to access encrypted data on Farook’s phone as they investigate who he contacted before the massacre.
Trump uses an iPhone and a Samsung device. The billionaire said on Twitter Friday that he’ll stick with Samsung if Apple doesn’t help investigators access Farook's phone, and called for a boycott.
"Hopefully others will follow suit. Our country needs & should demand security. It is time to get tough & be smart," Trump said.
The battle between Apple and the FBI has exposed a tension between police and prosecutors and technology companies.
Manhattan prosecutors said this week that New York City police and prosecutors have been unable to access data on more than 175 Apple devices taken in criminal investigations.
“This has become, ladies and gentlemen, the Wild West in technology. Apple and Google are their own sheriffs,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said Wednesday. "There are no rules."
It’s not the first time that Trump has weighed in on technology and security. In December, Trump called for limiting access to the internet in some way to prevent terror groups like ISIS from communicating online.