Request to unlock attacker’s iPhone not unreasonable: White House

  • PTI, Washington
  • Updated: Feb 23, 2016 14:14 IST
White House has asked Apple to unlock iPhone of the dead San Bernardino attacker. (Reuters File)

The FBI’s request to Apple to unlock iPhone of the dead San Bernardino attacker is not unreasonable as it does not require the technology company to redesign a product or create some sort of backdoor, the White House has said.

“The request that the FBI has put forward is one that is quite limited in scope. It doesn’t require Apple to redesign a product or to create some sort of new backdoor,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news briefing on Monday.

The FBI wants access to data stored on an encrypted iPhone owned by Syed Farook, a Pakistani-American dead terrorist, who in December, along with his Pakistani wife, killed 14 people at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California. They were later killed in a gun battle with police .

Apple CEO Tim Cook has warned that creating software allowing the FBI to unlock the San Bernardino suspect’s phone would create a backdoor that would make millions of other phones vulnerable to hackers and criminals.

The Obama Administration, Earnest argued, believes the American people benefit from robust encryption that protects their privacy and civil liberties.

At the same time, law enforcement and national security professionals have an obligation to keep people safe and do what they can to keep Americans safe, he said.

“In this situation, as it relates to the phone that was used by the terrorist in San Bernardino, we’re talking about a phone that was owned not by the terrorist, but by the local government. The terrorist is no longer living,” Earnest said.

The need to extract as much information as possible to learn as much as they can about that incident is something that the law enforcement officials have concluded is a priority, he said in response to q question.

“The case that we’re making is not that the FBI should determine what access they should have to that information, but it also shouldn’t be a private sector company that’s trying to sell stuff that decides that question,” he said.

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