Apple believes it is fighting a fight that should not have had to surface in the first place. As Cupertino is in the midst of digging up facts and arguments to counter a law enforcement order and the US government’s subsequent force de frappe in enforcing it, it has found a key fact that could subvert the basis of that order.
The company was already assisting the FBI’s investigation into San Bernardino mass shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c. Farook, who, along with his wife, killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center, died in a subsequent shootout with police.
BuzzFeed News reports that Apple engineers, working with the FBI, suggested four ways to retrieve information from the recovered iPhone — one of them was to get the phone on Wi-Fi and siphon information from an iCloud sync. Engineers attempted to use the Apple ID password associated with the device, but found that the password was changed. The FBI insists that the San Bernardino Health Department, which owned the iPhone 5c and assigned it to then-employee Farook, changed the password.
Company executives argue that the FBI would not have needed to request that Apple build a software backdoor into its encryption through a new version of its iOS, thus effectively posing what the tech giant says is a threat to all of its customers’ privacy. Apple goes on to state that no other government has ever requested the company to make encryption modifications of its software.