by Crystal Ly

After the San Bernardino shooting on Dec. 2, 2015, the FBI obtained an iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters. The FBI wants to know who Farook was communicating with and by what means. Investigators working on the case received permission to retrieve the data from the iPhone, but were unsuccessful due to it being locked with a passcode. The FBI did not want to take the risk of entering too many incorrect passcodes as it would erase all data on the iPhone after 10 failed attempts when the “Erase Data” feature is enabled.


As a result of that issue, the FBI reached out to Apple and request that they build backdoor to the iPhone. To be more specific, the FBI wants Apple to build a newer version of the iPhone operating system that would bypass several important security features and install it onto the iPhone. Timothy Donald “Tim” Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc. refused to comply due to many reasons, which resulted in the US Magistrate Sheri Pym to order Apple to unlock the iPhone 5C that was used by Farook, on Feb. 16, 2016, which Cook opposed of. Because this is such an important case that may affect many people, it may reach the Supreme Court, in which Cook responded, “We would be prepared to take this issue all the way.”


“We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them,” said Cook in his A Message to Our Customers on the Apple website. He continued on with that statement by saying, “But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create…In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession…Once the information is known, or a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with that knowledge.” Cook also claims that although the government suggest that this tool would only be used once, it’s simply not true. They would use the technique on multiple devices.


“Even though the backdoor may help the FBI access information in effort to help keep us protected, overall this method is still an invasion of someone’s privacy and I don’t support that,” said sophomore Elaine Leow. She further elaborated by saying “I think there could be another method to find out who Farook was communicating with and by what means. Besides that point, creating a backdoor may put millions of iPhone users at risk who have their personal information such as health data’s, financial information, private conversations, and photos when there is no guarantee that there is any valuable information on the iPhone.”


I support the FBI with creating a backdoor, even though we are directly invading the privacy of one person,” said sophomore Carol Rocha. She continued explaining by saying, “I believe that the FBI is doing it for a good cause, which is to help keep all of us safe. I think it’s worth the risk because that phone can contain information that can prevent more unfortunate terrorist activities in the future and help the FBI. iPhone users can always delete or transfer their personal information from their device as well.”


“This is a very tough case,” said 10th Grade Honors Government Teacher Bryan Kostukovich. He further explained his statement by saying “One had you have National Security, and the will of the FBI. On the other you have the precedent of individual liberties being potentially violated. This case will indicate if precedents set under the Patriot Act continue to stand in favor of National Security, or a private company will be able to protect privacy. Stating this sets a bad example for future cases.”

Apple vs government Chart.docx

This graph shows a total of 50 people siding with either Apple or the FBI.