Maricopa County in Arizona is the first official government agency to punish Apple for not unlocking the Apple iPhone 5c belonging to deceased terrorist Syed Farook
. The Maricopa County Attorney's office sent out a press release on Wednesday stating that it would no longer provide the iPhone as an option to existing employees seeking a replacement phone. Additionally, employees with an upgrade will also be prohibited from using it to grab an iPhone.
The backlash from Apple's decision not to comply with a court order demanding that it unlock Farook's handset seems to ignore an important fact; by changing the Apple ID on the device, the government made it impossible for Apple to back up content to iCloud via Wi-Fi, which would have allowed the Tech Titan to give the government what it wants without requiring Apple to build a new version of iOS. Apple is afraid that if it builds a unique version of its mobile OS for the feds, it will get into the wrong hands. This would endanger the security of every iPhone owner in the world.
Of the 544 smartphones that are handed out to employees of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, 366 are Apple iPhone units. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said, "If Apple wants to be the official smartphone of terrorists and criminals, there will be a consequence."
"Apple’s refusal to cooperate with a legitimate law enforcement investigation to unlock a phone used by terrorists puts Apple on the side of terrorists instead of on the side of public safety. Positioning their refusal to cooperate as having anything to do with privacy interests is a corporate PR stunt and ignores the 4th Amendment protections afforded by our Constitution. I don’t expect my action to affect Apple’s stock price, but I cannot in good conscience support doing business with an organization that chooses to thwart an active investigation into a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of fourteen fellow citizens. If Apple wants to be the official smartphone of terrorists and criminals, there will be a consequence."-Bill Montgomery, attorney, Maricopa County
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