White House disputes Apple’s position on iPhone hack request

Posted at 3:35 PM, Feb 17, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — Although the CEO of Apple says an order from a federal magistrate could threaten the security of millions of iPhones, the White House doesn’t see it that way.

The magistrate ordered Apple to help the FBI hack into an iPhone that had been used by one of the shooters who carried out the massacre in San Bernardino, California last year.

But Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company will resist. He says the administration is trying to get Apple to build a “backdoor” that would bypass digital locks protecting consumer information on iPhones. And he says the software would be “too dangerous to create.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest disagrees. He says the court isn’t trying to get Apple to “redesign its product” or “create a new backdoor.” Instead, Earnest says, the order would “have an impact on this one device.”

At the center of the debate is the private information carried on nearly 900 million iPhones sold worldwide.

In Congress, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Richard Burr, said, “Court orders are not optional and Apple should comply.” Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she thought the government should be able to access the phone. On the campaign trail, Republican Donald Trump said he agreed “100 percent with the courts.”