President Trump, who has praised Apple CEO Tim Cook for being a top-notch tech CEO, may be changing his tune.
Continue Reading Below
Late Tuesday, Trump lashed out at Apple, in a tweet, for allegedly not unlocking phones "used by killers" in the Pensacola Naval base shooting that killed 3 Americans and injured at least eight others.
"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..." he said.
Trump, who last August commended Cook for having the chutzpah to call him directly, criticized Apple after Attorney General William Barr also called out Apple for not giving law enforcement what they need in this case which was deemed an "act of terrorism" by Barr.
“We have asked Apple for their help in unlocking the shooter's phones. So far, Apple has not given any substantive assistance,” said Barr. “This situation perfectly illustrates why it is critical that the public be able to get access to digital evidence once it has obtained a court order based on probable cause. We call on Apple on other technology companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of American people and prevent future attacks.”
Apple refuted Barr's allegations in a statement to FOX Business on Monday:
"We were devastated to learn of the tragic terrorist attack on members of the US armed services at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida on December 6th. We have the greatest respect for law enforcement and routinely work with police across the country on their investigations. When law enforcement requests our assistance, our teams work around the clock to provide them with the information we have. We reject the characterization that Apple has not provided substantive assistance in the Pensacola investigation. Our responses to their many requests since the attack have been timely, thorough and are ongoing. Within hours of the FBI’s first request on December 6th, we produced a wide variety of information associated with the investigation. From December 7th through the 14th, we received six additional legal requests and in response provided information including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts. We responded to each request promptly, often within hours, sharing information with FBI offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola and New York. The queries resulted in many gigabytes of information that we turned over to investigators. In every instance, we responded with all of the information that we had. The FBI only notified us on January 6th that they needed additional assistance — a month after the attack occurred. Only then did we learn about the existence of a second iPhone associated with the investigation and the FBI's inability to access either iPhone. It was not until January 8th that we received a subpoena for information related to the second iPhone, which we responded to within hours. Early outreach is critical to accessing information and finding additional options. We are continuing to work with the FBI, and our engineering teams recently had a call to provide additional technical assistance. Apple has great respect for the Bureau’s work, and we will work tirelessly to help them investigate this tragic attack on our nation. We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys. Backdoors can also be exploited by those who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. Today, law enforcement has access to more data than ever before in history, so Americans do not have to choose between weakening encryption and solving investigations. We feel strongly encryption is vital to protecting our country and our users' data."