Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump directed his ire at Apple for refusing to help the FBI unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the radical Islamist shooters in the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 14 innocent people.
The FBI has been unable to access the password-protected device and Apple CEO Tim Cook says he won’t provide a “back door.”
“To think that Apple won’t allow us to get into her cell phone,” Trump said in an interview Wednesday on Fox News. “Who do they think they are? No, we have to open it up.”
The issue is discussed at the 7:45-minute mark of the video below:
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Tuesday ordered Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to access data on the phone, but the company is refusing to comply with the court order, according to The Hill.
The real estate tycoon insisted that Apple should help investigators access the data.
“Apple, this is one case, this is a case that certainly we should be able to get into the phone,” Trump said. “And we should find out what happened, why it happened, and maybe there’s other people involved and we have to do that.”
Apple posted an in-depth statement on its website. It reads, in part:
The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand…
We were shocked and outraged by the deadly act of terrorism in San Bernardino last December. We mourn the loss of life and want justice for all those whose lives were affected. The FBI asked us for help in the days following the attack, and we have worked hard to support the government’s efforts to solve this horrible crime. We have no sympathy for terrorists…
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. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.
The issue has put Apple in a very precarious position and has launched an intense social media debate on protecting America from another terrorist attack and protecting the privacy rights of all Apple users.
Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:
Once you slaughter 14 other people you should lose rights….no? https://t.co/t11436jZuZ
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) February 17, 2016
— Ranae Mayle (@RanaeMayle) February 17, 2016
— Amy Burton (@RubyRedVette) February 17, 2016
— ABC News (@ABC) February 17, 2016
— Susan Reaney (@SSReaney) February 17, 2016
— Kris (@kris298) February 17, 2016
@ABC once the phone is sold its no longer apple property. They should not be forced to compromise millions of user’s privacy rights.
— Shawn Rentfro (@Frodaddy09) February 17, 2016
— Fescano (@fescano) February 17, 2016
@ABC – Don’t believe for a minute that Apple is motivated by integrity. Apple only want to protect its technology.
— MLL (@marvelous47) February 17, 2016
@NPR If there is nothing to hide, who cares. If you’re not a terrorist, don’t worry about it
— Joe (@joe2sa) February 17, 2016
— Micah Jung Un (@Micah_W17) February 17, 2016
@NPR Seems like that would be a very bad precedent.
— Becki (@beckineel) February 17, 2016
@NPR Even w/o FBI involvement, Apple would never be trusted again – sales will plummet.
— John Rowlette (@JohnRowlette) February 17, 2016
Hey, aholes at Apple….Americans were slaughtered, all bets are off you flipping traitors. Do you want more Americans to die?
— Paul Arbanas (@ArbanasPaul) February 17, 2016
— Duncan Brookwell (@DuncanBrookwell) February 17, 2016