Apple posts FAQ on government's request to unlock terrorist's iPhone

Apple posts FAQ on government's request to unlock terrorist's iPhone
Apple's support page now includes information related to the company's legal battle with the government over a court order. The order demands that Apple unlock an Apple iPhone 5c, which was given to deceased terrorist Syed Farook to be used in relation to his job with the San Bernardino Department of Public Health. Farook and his wife killed 14 people in a San Bernardino office building, and the government says information inside the phone could help them determine who was in touch with Farook before the attack. It also might lead investigators to determine what other targets are being eyed by terrorists.

In the FAQ, Apple makes it clear that the government is asking for it "to create a unique version of iOS that would bypass security protections on the iPhone Lock screen." More specifically, Apple has been asked to disable the Auto-Erase feature that wipes an iPhone after ten incorrect passcodes have been entered. Apple adds that giving in to the government order could lead to requests for Apple to record conversations, or monitor the location of a user.

The tech titan does admit that the software being asked for by the court order can be built. But Apple says that creating the requested version of iOS is "dangerous." Apple added that "the only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to never create it." 

For those who claim that Apple had previously unlocked iPhones to cooperate with the government, the company repeats something that we told you the other day. Prior to iOS 8, Apple did extract data from specific iPhone units under a court order. But with the release of iOS 8, that could no longer be possible.

On the support page, Apple denies that it is not following the court order because of concern for its business model and marketing strategy. The company also reveals that a solution that would have worked, pairing the phone to a network already joined and backing up the data on the phone, could no longer be considered after the Apple ID password connected to the phone was changed when the phone was in custody of the government.

Apple suggests that the government withdraw its demands and form a commission to discuss the issues involving "the implications for law enforcement, national security, privacy, and personal freedoms." Apple says that it would attend such a meeting of the minds.

If you want to see Apple's position on the government's request to unlock Farook's iPhone 5c, click on the sourcelink to read Apple's FAQ on the subject.

source: Apple via BGR

Story timeline

Related phones

iPhone 5c
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A6, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 1507 mAh(10h 3G talk time)



1. Unordinary unregistered

Good Guy Apple

43. S.R.K.

Posts: 678; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

Really? So if this was one of you're family that died, you wouldn't of never said that.

49. Unordinary unregistered

I understand you are anti Apple but cut the bias bulls$@t for a moment and understand what is at risk.

52. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

they still need alot more victim to learn someting :-/

53. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

If it was one of his family who died, he'd probably be fine with any breach of civil rights, liberties, fairness or the law if it meant revenge or justice. I know when I was the victim of a crime, I was angry and I didn't care about anyone else's rights, I just wanted to feel better. But that's why our rights and limitations on what others and government can do are written into law.

66. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

So if it was my family so what. You are looking at a case, not at the overall picture. Even I side 100% with Apple on this. I realize the USA has enemies and they made most of them. So sad to nad. The FBI doesn't know what si on the phone. Should they have a right to it? If they cant prove the phone was used to commit the crime, then no. They seem to want access because they "think" people he worked with names and numbers or other identifying info could be on the phone. The problem with what the feds want Apple to do is the fact they cannot guarantee the tool wont be used on anyone else. If Apple remained the holder of the tool, it still creates a problem. An employee could sell the tool to the highest bidder and then the tool would be used to hurt anyone with an iPhone. Then this will set a precedence which means Google/Android and Microsoft/Windows Phone, Blackberry, Samsung/Tizen and everyone else the feds will want a backdoor too. if anyone one person can't understand this, than you're simply stupid. I dont agree with any citizen not on apple's side in this case. Every situation is a case by case basis. What you arent looking at is all the possibilities. The first and formost the tool woudl be used on ALL CITIZENS of the planet. Next, releasing such a tool would make Apple the enemy of the same terrorist which puts Apple employees lives at stake. After all, someone with a bomb could walk into any Apple store or even the headquarters and kill people. Or some terrorist with a gun could just simply open fire on them. I may not like Apple a whole bunch, I will still support them when and if they are 100% right and in this case I "feel" they are. I dont give a crap what the law is. After all the NSA, FBI, CIA and all those other crackpot groups, breaks laws everyday and violate the rights of many to get their man. Apple is basically telling them f**k you FBI and I agree with them 100%. I for one trust no government, even the one I live under. Why? Because they are all ran by a man and when you place a man in a place where they can hurt and abuse others, they simply will. This has been proven time and time again. If you want to give up YOUR rights and YOUR phone, do so. That doesn't mean I want too nor am I going too. he has a right to privacy even if he is a criminal. His rights don't go out the door because he committed a crime.

2. another1

Posts: 157; Member since: Dec 25, 2015

Everyone should be with Apple on this one..

11. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

I hate apple deeply but i am with them on this one!

31. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I have very mixed feelings. I have lots of family in the same area as where the shootings took place so the idea that my dad, grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins could have crossed paths with this person at the supermarket is a very unsettling feeling. I would like to see to it that the FBI gain access to the phone, and hopefully stop a future attack as a result. And yet, I agree with Apple that back doors are bad ideas for such a personal device.

67. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

People get killed everyday. Many right in our own city on on our block. Your safety is in question anytime you come out your house and so is the members of your family and anyone elses'. However, it wasn't YOUR family and even if it was you must look at the WHOLE picture. All you guys see is well it could be my family and if it was I want Apple to do this or that. Yes you will want it and many of us will too. But we have to look at what we are askign for. Giving someone a full backdoor to an OS is liek giving someone the right to physically have a machien to make money. They woudl have no control. After all, if you could print money, what would stop you from printing mor eof it to benefit YOU? NOTHING> Peopel have a conscious, but most don't use it. Ever man and woman on this planet have the ability to make wrong decision and when you make it easy for them to do so, THEY WILL. Humans can't be trusted, even if they share your last name. Don't you know this? Make a choice to trust them because you "feel" because they are family they will hurt you. But facts show, the people who tend to hurt you the most, are the one nearest to you. That is a statistical fact YOU or I can't change. if the FBI gets such a tool...100% of YOUR privacy just went out the door. Because they could secret tap any phone in the world. The potential for abuse is too high. Its the same reason the US President doesn't have absolute power. If he did, he could do things like Hitler. Like kill people because they don't believe in the same god, or because they are of another race. It woudl be like movies where the guns never run out of bullets. You ever seen those? All you guys are looking for instant gratification for a situation that has no direct bearing on you. This guy killed people. So?! Lots of people kill people. Yes they may have friends who are criminals. So?! There is a way to handle that and this isn't it. Sorry anyone who doesn't agree is blind to facts. Facts like, Apple knowingly giving such to a government group woudl open themselves to be terrorized. Let Apple release such a tool and people find out. More people will die including these Apple loving losers standing in line at an Apple store one day and they all get shot up for something the CEO did. Is that what you want?" You want to solve a small problem, by creating a bigger one? Yeah...that's really smart!

25. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

You know, after all the information I heard. I have to support Apple on this one. My question still is on other side of the coin, there are terrorism use this technology to plot harm ....... what to do about it?

54. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

The terrorists who bombed the Boston marathon were question by the FBI prior to the bombing, as they had posted a lot of suspicious stuff online. However, due to concerns about discrimination, the FBI agents were limited on lines of questioning about their ideology and the reason they may want to murder people. The government wants to get access to every American's phone, but we know they won't use that information to keep us safe.

27. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

They're going to eventually get the thing unlocked and find that the terrorist only used it for Angry Birds.

38. S.R.K.

Posts: 678; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

Not me. Never ever will. I hope they abuse the system, and Apple fades away slowly. Rip. It should also heavily effect the business and their iUsers. Come on cowards you have to hand over it, Or-else get your buty kicked and also go to iPrison. Especially made for Timcok. Let's serenade and rejoice lmfao.

55. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

You know there are fascist countries in the world that you can emigrate to today, and take part in democratically destroying individual rights of anyone you don't like. Go, please.

3. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Sorry Apple are full of it and it's just being done to look cool Apple can easy make the software and install it on the phone They can also easy then unlock it and give the fbi the data THEY OWN THE PHONE in this case, I.e. The owner is asking for the unlock Also Apple can then Also remove any auth from there system for the software so even if it leaked out it can not be used, just like ios1 can not be used on the 5c, this is a joke There is no weak to other iPhone users or with fbi asking to unlock phone they do not own, as in this case the government own the phone

5. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

"Apple can easy make the software and install it on the phone" They clearly describe why that's a naïve thought, and I 100% agree with them: "Could Apple build this operating system just once, for this iPhone, and never use it again? The digital world is very different from the physical world. In the physical world you can destroy something and it’s gone. But in the digital world, the technique, once created, could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. Law enforcement agents around the country have already said they have hundreds of iPhones they want Apple to unlock if the FBI wins this case. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks. Of course, Apple would do our best to protect that key, but in a world where all of our data is under constant threat, it would be relentlessly attacked by hackers and cybercriminals. As recent attacks on the IRS systems and countless other data breaches have shown, no one is immune to cyberattacks. Again, we strongly believe the only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to never create it."

17. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Well he do make a point.. they could invalidate the ios version just after its been used once and then its could NEVER be installed on any device again.. Just like you cant use ios 1.0 on a new iphone right? Now this dont change this simple fact... if they do it.. if they cross thats line then its over they will be forced to do it again and again and no one in is right mind would agree to the governement be able to do this as much as they want.

33. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Only if the owner of the phone asks as this is the case this time, I.e. This does not included none owner asking, so Apple just makes it very clear that as the owner is asking, if they take it to the Apple, they get it unlocked for them for a big fee 100000000000 To stop the basic customer from taking it, hAhahah (But they give it 1 min deal for free, juat as they do this phone, this cover theme if other phones need doing but they not owned

48. Rock_Hardwood

Posts: 117; Member since: May 11, 2015

i agree with mr electrifyer

39. S.R.K.

Posts: 678; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

Sooner Apple fades away the better the world will be in peace. No sympathy for these pos.

56. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

When the FBI questioned the Boston marathon bombers before the bombing, but refused to ask about their ideology in order to not offend, are they not worse than Apple? They knew, based on the brother's online posts, that terror acts were planned. Yet now they want access to everyone's phones, but what will they do with that access? They might stop some crime, but if they know you're planning terror acts and still won't stop you, access to your phone won't make the difference.

4. Bernoulli

Posts: 4360; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

With as much influence as the American government has, it's surprising that they haven't gotten the password.

32. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

What password are you talking about?

37. Bernoulli

Posts: 4360; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

To farook's iPhone, although I can't take your question seriously.

64. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

Apologies, but your question, as worded, was a bit unclear. Are you implying that there's a password in Apple's possession (other than the PW on the phone) that the government is unable to leverage its influence to acquire, or referring to the fact that the government's influence has not been able to coheres Apple into compliance.

72. Bernoulli

Posts: 4360; Member since: Sep 01, 2012

The latter one.

7. Windswept7

Posts: 10; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

I'm a fan of Android personally but I must admit that Apple is doing the right thing in this scenario. For the everyday user Apple's security is above and beyond what most people would be able to achieve on an Android phone; that is part of the iPhone appeal. Also Apple does currently have the lead with their Homekit service for the IoT, the Android equivalent Brillo isn't quite up to speed yet. But they're really the only two advantages Apple has currently.

8. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Just f**king open it.....

40. S.R.K.

Posts: 678; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

I'm with you. If they don't open it, Obama will kick their @ss. Because Apple was saved by Obama for the banned on IPhones by Samsung. Apple owes the favour back.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.