Apple chief executive Tim Cook has published an open letter on the official Apple website exposing the FBI's demands to create a version of iOS that could allow the FBI into personal iPhones and iPads.
Following the events of the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the FBI was in contact with Apple to create what is essentially a "backdoor hack" into the iPhone found at the site of the attack.
One can glean from the letter that the FBI is requesting this hack to be used as a one-time measure to collect information about the attack, but Cook's concerns are with the technology itself. If created, it could be used on all iPhones and iPads in the future, creating a massive privacy issue for everyone who uses the devices.
Cook's letter challenges the FBI's demands as Cook even refers to the demands as "chilling" as he explains what the FBI is requesting. Essentially, a backdoor would allow the passcode for any iPhone to be sent remotely, allowing for additional security measures to be forced through. If used improperly officials could gain access to any iPhone they deem necessary.
"In the wrong hands, this software--which does not exist today--would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession," Cook explains in the letter.
"The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control."
The concern here is understandable, given the massive iPhone and iPad userbase across the globe. When millions of users are downloading a single app from the App Store, you've got a good idea as to the implications this measure could have, especially if the government chose to utilize it in a different way, as Cook detailed within his call to action.
"The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge."
"While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect."
We'll keep you updated on any further responses or customer-facing communications issued from Apple or Cook.