Now the President of the United States has weighed in on the matter.
We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2020
"We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN," President Trump wrote.
The President's tweet is response to Apple doubling down on its stance following the confiscation of locked iPhones used by a shooting suspect at a Navy base in Pensacola, Florida last month. US Attorney General William Barr had previously weighed in, claiming Apple had provided no "substantive assistance" in unlocking the iPhone devices. Apple refuted the claim.
"We reject the characterization that Apple has not provided substantive assistance in the Pensacola investigation. Our responses to their many requests since the attack have been timely, thorough and are ongoing. We responded to each request promptly, often within hours, sharing information with FBI offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola and New York. The queries resulted in many gigabytes of information that we turned over to investigators. In every instance, we responded with all of the information that we had," Apple said in a statement on Monday.
From the outside looking in, this appears to be a power play. The iPhone models recovered are older models that are already susceptible to third-party hacks, and it seems the FBI could crack into them if that was the end goal. However, this might be another attempt to set a legal precedent, so that Apple would be forced to build backdoors into all current and future iPhone models.
It remains to be seen how it will play out, though it's unlikely Apple will acquiesce to the President's tweet.