US President Donald Trump (R) and Apple CEO Tim Cook speak to the press during a tour of the Flextronics computer factory, where Apple's Mac professionals will gather in Austin, Texas on November 20, 2019.
Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
In a tweet, President Donald Trump asked Apple to unlock password-protected iPhones that the shooting suspect was using at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida in December.
"We help Apple with TRADE and so many other problems all the time, and yet they refuse to unlock phones that are used by murderers, drug dealers, and other violent criminal elements. They have to sit on the board and help our great country . " MAKE AMERICA BIG AGAIN, "Trump tweeted.
On Monday, Attorney General William Barr claimed that Apple had provided no "substantial help" to unlock the suspect's two iPhones.
In a late Monday statement, Apple replied that it provided information to law enforcement officers related to the Pensacola Gigabyte case, but would not build a "back door" or special software to increase law enforcement access.
"We reject the finding that Apple has not provided substantial support in investigating Pensacola. Our responses to their numerous requests since the attack have been timely, thorough, and ongoing," said Apple.
The tweet sent from an iPhone also suggested that Apple should work with the FBI as Trump helps "Apple on TRADE all the time".
Cook spent years building a friendly relationship with Trump, hoping to keep him and his coworkers away from tariffs, which would harm Apple, since its products are mainly assembled in China. Apple avoided a tariff on its iPhone in December after Trump announced so-called "phase one" trading.
Apple was involved in a showdown with the FBI back in 2016 when the Department of Justice sued it for access to a phone used by Syed Farook, who was responsible for the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California, and which involved 14 people died. The stalemate ended when the FBI found an unknown private operator who jeopardized the security of the phone.
"I agree 100% with the courts. In this case we should open [the iPhone] up, "Trump said at the time that was during his presidential campaign.
In this case, Apple argued that it would not be able to unlock the phone unless it had developed special software called the "back door." In Monday's statement, Apple said it rejects all kinds of back doors because they can be exploited by bad actors and also provide access to law enforcement agencies.
Apple regularly provides law enforcement information from its servers when it is preloaded. According to statistics on its website, Apple has answered over 127,000 requests for information from law enforcement agencies since 2013. An Apple data protection officer earlier this month said the company is working with teams around the clock to respond to law enforcement requests.
Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.
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