After being given a court order compelling Apple to release information from the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, the company has refused to provide the necessary data to the FBI.
Before the court order was issued on Feb. 16, the FBI asked for the software company’s help with regard to opening up the phone of one of the shooters, Syed Farook. The attack took place on Dec. 2 of last year at the Inland Regional Center in Riverside, California. He and his wife killed 14 people and injured another 22.
The FBI is seeking information in order to search for evidence and determine if anyone else aided in the attack, or if another attack is currently being planned. The court request would force Apple to create new software which would allow the government agency to get around the passcode of the iPhone 5c.
The company adamantly protested this court order in an appeal. In addition to writing a letter to customers. Tim Cook, the Chief Executive Officer of Apple, expressed his concerns by writing that “while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”
As of writing, the company is standing firm, expressing concern that by allowing the government to access one phone, a snowball effect will occur, with the result being that other agencies and prosecutors will ask for the same technology.
Appealing to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Apple is making the claim that by being forced to develop this software, its free speech is being limited.
However, prosecutors in this case have argued that Apple’s true intentions are less than noble, writing that “Apple’s current refusal to comply with the court’s order, despite the technical feasibility of doing so, instead appears to be based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy.”
The FBI appealed to the All Writs Act, which gives judges the ability to request appropriate aid from third parties in legal cases, to make their case.
There will be a hearing held on Apple’s appeal on March 22 in Riverside, California.