New York’s top counter–terrorism officer has torn into Apple over its refusal to open a so–called backdoor into a terrorist’s iPhone, claiming that the Cupertino company is aiding criminals by not co-operating.
Speaking with a US radio station, John Miller said: “You are actually providing aid to the kidnappers, robbers and murders who have actually been recorded on the telephones in Riker’s Island telling their compatriots on the outside, ‘You gotta get iOS 8. It’s a gift from God’ — and that’s a quote — ‘because the cops can’t crack it.’”
Apple’s strong encryption of its iOS platform means that the company does not currently have the ability to crack the iPhone belonging to the man behind last December’s San Bernardino attack, which left 14 dead.
Apple says developing such software for the FBI would be unconstitutional and set a dangerous precedent whereby hackers could break into millions of users’ iPhones.
Miller’s remarks come as Apple steps up its fight to win the battle for the public’s trust over encryption and privacy.
In an article for the Washington Post, Apple exec Craig Federighi said: “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.”
Apple and the FBI are engaged in a battle at the US Congress in an attempt to break the impasse. Last week a New York judge ruled in Apple’s favour in a separate case, saying it did not have to comply with federal orders to break iPhone encryption.