Donald Trump has some words for his old pal, Tim Apple.
The President of the United States once again lost his cool Tuesday afternoon, tweeting that Apple must assist authorities in their efforts to unlock iPhones. In other words, Trump finally got on the encryption-backdoor train.
“We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements,” wrote Trump. “They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”
We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2020
At issue are two iPhones that once belonged to a now deceased Royal Saudi Air Force lieutenant. The lieutenant, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, attacked the Pensacola Naval Air Station in December of last year. Law enforcement is in possession of the smartphones, however Attorney General William Barr claimed as recently as yesterday that they are “virtually impossible” to unlock without Apple’s help.
Apple, for its part, asserted in a statement to Input that it has helped — even if not in the exact way that AG Barr wants.
“We are continuing to work with the FBI, and our engineering teams recently had a call to provide additional technical assistance,” read the statement in part. “Apple has great respect for the Bureau’s work, and we will work tirelessly to help them investigate this tragic attack on our nation.”
Essentially, Apple is refusing to create a backdoor into its product. That is, the company won’t make a proverbial key that will give authorities the ability to break encryption on all its phones. Experts agree that this is a good thing.
We reached out to Apple for comment, but received no immediate response.
Importantly, the government doesn’t need an encryption backdoor — there are already companies and services that claim to be able to break encryption on iPhones. The government knows this. It works with those very companies.
Maybe no one bothered to tell Trump.