A new book on Apple’s CEO Tim Cook out this month details how the CEO “bet the company” on fighting the FBI order to create a backdoor on iPhones and iPads for law enforcement agencies.
The book titled “Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level” by Leander Kahney highlights how Cook led from the front and ensured that Apple was not forced to create a backdoor in iPhones and iPads following the San Bernardino terrorist attack. In 2016, post the attack which led to 12 people being killed and many more being injured, the FBI demanded Apple create a backdoor in iPhones so that it could extract data from the locked iPhone of one of the shooters.
Tim Cook, however, refused to do so because he believed the backdoor could end up in the wrong hands eventually and cause greater damage. The battle between Apple and FBI took place publicly as the law enforcement agency wanted to show Apple in a bad light to the general public — a company that was not helping it catch the terrorists. The FBI dragged Apple to the court and wanted to use the All Writs Act to get the court to order Apple to unlock the terrorist’s iPhone.
However, as the book points out, the FBI saw it as an opportunity to force Apple to create a backdoor in its devices which could be used by the FBI to access data stored in phones related to other cases as well.
Former Apple general counsel Brian Sewell has been quoted in the book saying “There was a sense at the FBI that this was the perfect storm. We now have a tragic situation. We have a phone. We have a dead assailant. This is the time that we’re going to push it. And that’s when the FBI decided to file [the order],” he said.
Apple’s executive floor at its One Infinite Loop campus “turned into a 24/7 situation room” with the company fielding questions from the press — a move that Apple had rarely done before. Ultimately, right before the day was set to go to trial, the FBI withdrew its case against Apple. It had paid a company $900k dollars to break into the terrorist’s iPhone. Despite all the drama and fuss created by the FBI, the data from the phone did not reveal any key new information.
“Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level” goes on sale April 16. It also highlights how Tim Cook led Apple from the front after taking the mantle from Steve Jobs and made Apple the richest company in the world that it is today.