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Apple refuses fed order to hack terrorist iPhone

Posted: 8:58 AM, Feb 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-18 14:28:53Z
Apple refuses fed order to hack terrorist iPhone
Apple refuses fed order to hack terrorist iPhone
Apple refuses fed order to hack terrorist iPhone
Apple refuses fed order to hack terrorist iPhone

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — In a letter to customers posted late Tuesday night, Apple says it will not help federal investigators break into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

A federal judge ordered Apple to hack into the cell phone of Syed Farook, who is accused in the December attack on a holiday party in California which killed 14 people.

Apple says the fed's order would create a backdoor into Apple's operating system, putting millions of iPhone users at risk of privacy violation.

A former Las Vegas Metro Police investigator says he expects the case could go all the way to the Supreme Court.

"When the FBI asks for help that’s really some serious stuff," Randy Sutton said. "Because they have tremendous resources at their disposal."

Sutton spent 34 years in law enforcement and is now an author and journalist on law enforcement issues.

Sutton says this is the first major case where a court has ordered a company to create new software to hack its own product.

"This is vital stuff inside this telephone," he said. "But then there’s so many privacy issues."

Apple agreed, releasing a letter to customers saying it has no sympathy for terrorists, but opposed the order because it has "implications far beyond the legal case at hand."

Apple says the feds can't guarantee the program wouldn't be used beyond the current case.

"I can’t imagine the frustration of the investigators," Sutton said.

Apple has five days to appeal the federal order.