WATERCOOLER: Should Apple help the FBI investigate killers?

Still from helicopter footage showing police going
Still from helicopter footage showing police going "door-to-door" searching for a potential third suspect involved in a shooting that killed 14 people and injured 17 more.

APPLE is vowing to fight a ruling by a federal court in the United States that it help the FBI hack into a locked iPhone used by a mass murderer.

The magistrate ruled that Apple deliver software to the FBI that would allow investigators into the phone without triggering a "self-destruct" feature that erases data after too many attempts to unlock it.

It would allow the FBI to quickly work through possible codes without risking the information stored within the phone.

Should Apple help unlock a phone, even if it risks all iPhone security

This poll ended on 18 March 2016.

Current Results

Yes, if my friends or family died, I would want Apple to help


No, it will put the information of millions at risk if it falls into the wrong hands


You're telling me the FBI can't crack a phone?


Whatever the issue, the court says do it so Apple should do it


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The latest operating system on the phones means all data would be erased after 10 failed attempts to unlock the phone.

The order focuses on an iPhone belonging to Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the attack.

Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik died during a gun fight with police.

Apple Inc. chief Tim Cook said the company would fight the order, which he said would risk the phone security for millions.



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Mr Cook said he wanted all Apple customers to understand what was at stake if it followed the court's orders.

He said it was creating the equivalent of "a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks".

"In the wrong hands, this software - which does not exist today - would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone's physical possession," Cook said on the Apple site.

"The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a back door.

"And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control."

US prosecutors have said they can't access the work phone of Farook, partly because Apple hasn't cooperated.

The order compels Apple to develop a program to work only on Farook's phone.

Apple now has five days to say whether such the order will be too difficult to complete.

AP reports Farook and Malk physically destroyed their two personal phones, crushing them so the FBI could not retrieve information. 

A hard drive from their computer had also been removed and the FBI has so far failed to uncover it.

Topics:  apple editors picks iphone watercooler

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