Donald Trump Tells Apple to Unlock Florida Terrorist’s iPhones

UTC by Wanguba Muriuki · 3 min read
Donald Trump Tells Apple to Unlock Florida Terrorist’s iPhones
Photo: Pixabay

President Trump wants Apple to unlock all the iPhone handsets used by the gunman who targeted a Florida Navy base on December 6, 2019, but the tech giant is hesitant.

Advancement in technology has resulted in advanced strategies that criminals and terrorists use to pounce on innocent victims. Due to companies’ privacy policies, some manufacturers of the gadgets used by the crime perpetrators end up withholding crucial information to help perpetrators. One such company is Apple Inc.

After the December 6, 2019, terrorist attack on a Florida Navy base, it emerged that the criminal used iPhones for part of his plans and communications. Since then, Apple is hesitant about unlocking the devices. Now, President Donald Trump has taken a shot at the tech giant calling them to ‘step up to the plate.’ The president wants the company to unlock all the iPhones used by the gunman.

In a tweet on January 14, the President said that the U.S. government assists Apple on various issues including trade. In return, he wants the Cupertino, California-based technology giant to unlock the phones used by ‘criminal elements.’

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, and President Trump have developed a unique working relationship. These ties are believed to have significantly contributed to Trump negotiating a trade deal with China. That deal will probably save Apple billions of dollars.

But, many United States government officials, including Trump’s Attorney General William Barr, are convinced that Apple is not helping enough in the issue of unlocking the iPhones used by the Florida attacker.

Apple Clashes with the U.S. over Unlocking iPhones

So far, Apple has rejected the suggestion that it has not helped enough. The company said that it provided ‘gigabytes’ of data from the cloud backups of these devices. Nonetheless, Apple never addressed the government’s request directly in the issue of unlocking these gadgets. It is refusing to develop special tools to enable the investigators to access the locked iPhones.

On the contrary, the government does not need Apple to break into the attacker’s handsets and analyze them. It can use third-party tools according to security experts. One tool that might simplify this process got its updates on January 14.

The President’s tweet comes an escalation of a continuous public spat that has existed between the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Apple over data encryption and device security.

The FBI requested Apple to unlock an iPhone in 2016. In that instance, the handset belonged to a shooter behind the San Bernadino terrorist attack. Apple refused to do it and CEO Cook explained that creating a backdoor into the devices was the ‘software equivalent of cancer.’

According to a statement by the American Civil Liberties Union published on January 14, Trump’s administration’s request was “dangerous and unconstitutional, and would weaken the security of millions of iPhones”.

Will Apple crumble under growing pressure from the government or will it uphold its ethics and privacy policy?

Apple Stock

As for the company’s stock, it is doing quite well despite some unnecessary noise around it, as well as the majority of FAANG stocks. Currently, its price is around $312 which means a small decline of 1%. But let’s not forget that even last week its price was lower, at around $311. 

In one year, Apple stock has done over 100% which is very impressive.

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