Menu
Arizona county attorney to ditch iPhones over Apple dispute with FBI

Arizona county attorney to ditch iPhones over Apple dispute with FBI

The decision, though symbolic, reflects the challenges ahead for Apple

Apple’s refusal to help the FBI unlock an iPhone 5c used by one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino, California attack on Dec. 2 has prompted the Maricopa County attorney’s office in Arizona to ban providing new iPhones to its staff.

“Apple’s refusal to cooperate with a legitimate law enforcement investigation to unlock a phone used by terrorists puts Apple on the side of terrorists instead of on the side of public safety,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement on Wednesday.

Montgomery described as a corporate public relations stunt Apple’s positioning of its refusal to cooperate on privacy grounds. The evidence obtained through searches using warrants to unlock encrypted smartphones, including iPhones, have proven critical to the investigation and prosecution of defendants charged with drug trafficking, sexual exploitation, murder and other serious offenses, he added.

The county prosecutor's decision is more symbolic and is unlikely to impact Apple’s sales as there are 564 smartphones deployed throughout the office, 366 of which are iPhones. But it could be an indication of the various levers available to law enforcement agencies in the U.S. to try to get Apple to come around to its point of view. "If Apple wants to be the official smartphone of terrorists and criminals, there will be a consequence,” Montgomery said.

Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ordered Apple last week to provide assistance, including by providing signed software if required, to help the FBI try different passcodes by brute force on the locked iPhone 5c, without triggering an auto-erase feature in the phone.

Cook said in an email to employees that it was possible to do what the FBI was asking, but added that the company believes it "too dangerous to do," as it would undermine the security features of the device.

The company’s decision hasn’t gone down well with many other people, besides Montgomery. A study released Monday by the Pew Research Center found that 51 percent of respondents said they think Apple should unlock the iPhone to help the FBI with its investigation, while 38 percent opposed it. Eleven percent of the respondents had no opinion either way.

The decision by the Maricopa County attorney's office, first disclosed to the relevant staff on Sunday, was made public on Wednesday. The county office will discontinue providing iPhones as replacements or upgrades for existing employees. It has over 900 full-time employees.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags applefbi

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments