Some Apple employees might refuse to help FBI unlock iPhone 5c if ordered to do so

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Date: Friday, March 18th, 2016, 08:15
Category: iOS, iPhone, Legal, News, security


As the iPhone unlocking controversy roars on, a number of Apple engineers have said they may decide not to cooperate with law enforcement.

Apple employees who might be called on to help the FBI are already considering their actions should Apple lose the case. This is according to interviews conducted by the New York Times with half a dozen people involved in the development of mobile products and security at Apple.

Per the interviews, some said they they may balk at the work, while others may even quit their premium jobs rather than undermine the security of the software they have already created, according to more than a half-dozen current and former Apple employees.

Unlocking the iPhone 5c used in the San Bernadino shooting would require Apple to comply with an FBI request, thus pushing the company to create a new version of iOS that would bypass passcode restrictions on the device and allow the FBI to enter a passcode electronically instead of manually. Apple has said it will take six to ten engineers a period of two to four weeks to develop the new operating system.

Apple’s lack of compliance with the FBI means that the company could significantly delay the FBI’s timeline, thus resulting in legal consequences for all involved. It’s also been noted that developing what Apple calls “GovtOS” would be difficult without the cooperation of key engineers, and Apple employees already have a solid idea who would be called on to help.

They include an engineer who developed software for the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. That engineer previously worked at an aerospace company. Another is a senior quality-assurance engineer who is described as an expert “bug catcher” with experience testing Apple products all the way back to the iPod. A third likely employee specializes in security architecture for the operating systems powering the iPhone, Mac and Apple TV.

If Apple employees refuse to write the code for the software, Apple could potentially face hefty fines for non-compliance.

Apple will testify in court on Tuesday, March 22nd regarding the case and its intended actions.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via MacRumors and the New York Times

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