Apple has previously stated that the company would never open a encryption backdoor for nor allow server access to government agencies. The company claims it does not have the ability to decrypt its own devices running iOS 8 or later — only those who have the password to the encrypted device have access to what’s inside it.
The US Attorney’s Office has decided that Apple’s assistance in unlocking an iPhone 5c is warranted anyway and a court judge has agreed. That iPhone 5c belonged to the San Bernardino County Department of Health and was assigned to Syed Farook, who, together with his wife Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California on December 2.
“Apple has the exclusive technical means which would assist the government in completing its search, but has declined to provide that assistance voluntarily,” prosecutors argued.
The federal judge ordered that the company had to provide “reasonable technical assistance” which mainly consists of allowing a work-through against the automatic data wipe function which will allow investigators to attempt unlimited password combinations. It has five days to formally decline the order if it believes it to be an “unreasonably burdensome” measure.
Sounds like the master stroke to encryption, right? Well, we’re not sure if that data wipe’s code edit privilege lies beyond the encryption, but Apple sure is confident that it won’t be able to help as much as it would or would not like to.