Apple Pushes Back Against ‘False Claims’ After FBI Criticism
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. pushed back against FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday, saying it helped the government track down information about the shooter behind December’s attack at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.
Wray said earlier that Apple provided “effectively no help” in unlocking iPhones belonging to the attacker.
“The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security,” Apple said in a statement. It also reiterated that it would not build a backdoor into iPhones, saying that would “make every device vulnerable to bad actors who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers.”
The company also said that it responded to the FBI’s requests for help “just hours” after the 2019 shooting and “continued to support law enforcement during their investigation.”
Earlier on Monday, Attorney General William Barr announced that the FBI managed to unlock the iPhones belonging to the shooter and discovered he had contact with a suspected al-Qaeda operative. He also said Apple’s decision on iPhone access has “dangerous consequences for the public safety and the national security.”
Apple’s full statement is below:
The terrorist attack on members of the US armed services at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida was a devastating and heinous act. Apple responded to the FBI’s first requests for information just hours after the attack on December 6, 2019 and continued to support law enforcement during their investigation. We provided every piece of information available to us, including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts, and we lent continuous and ongoing technical and investigative support to FBI offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola and New York over the months since.
On this and many thousands of other cases, we continue to work around-the-clock with the FBI and other investigators who keep Americans safe and bring criminals to justice. As a proud American company, we consider supporting law enforcement’s important work our responsibility. The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security.
It is because we take our responsibility to national security so seriously that we do not believe in the creation of a backdoor — one which will make every device vulnerable to bad actors who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. There is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys, and the American people do not have to choose between weakening encryption and effective investigations.
Customers count on Apple to keep their information secure and one of the ways in which we do so is by using strong encryption across our devices and servers. We sell the same iPhone everywhere, we don’t store customers’ passcodes and we don’t have the capacity to unlock passcode-protected devices. In data centers, we deploy strong hardware and software security protections to keep information safe and to ensure there are no backdoors into our systems. All of these practices apply equally to our operations in every country in the world.
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