San Bernardino Shooting

FBI Wants to ‘Turn Back the Clock’ on iPhone: Apple Software Head

The man behind Apple’s software says that the FBI’s demand that the company help break into an iPhone is dangerous in a world where hackers want to get into our bank accounts, government computers and transportation systems.

Smartphones are now firmly a part of everyday life for many, and that makes them juicy targets for people looking for digital soft spots, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, wrote in an opinion column for the Washington Post published on Sunday evening. That’s why Apple focuses on security, including the encryption built into the iPhone, he says.

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“Doing anything to hamper that mission would be a serious mistake,” Federighi wrote. “That’s why it’s so disappointing that the FBI, Justice Department and others in law enforcement are pressing us to turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies.”

The FBI wants Apple to build a new piece of software that would then be loaded onto an iPhone 5C used by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino massacre that left 14 people dead last December. Apple, as well as digital rights groups and security experts, have argued that such a tool would almost certainly get loose, and endanger other users of Apple devices.

“Once created, this software — which law enforcement has conceded it wants to apply to many iPhones — would become a weakness that hackers and criminals could use to wreak havoc on the privacy and personal safety of us all,” Federighi wrote.

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