Apple’s contends that the FBI’s San Bernardino case will have them unlock many phones in the future – the FBI does not agree. FBI Director James Comey spoke with a congressional panel this Thursday, suggesting that Apple’s assistance in unlocking the phone of one San Bernardino shooter would not open the doors to future unlocking of devices as such. This situation, he said, was “unlikely to be a trailblazer” for other cases. Apparently Comey had not spoken to the NYPD before the panel.
Comey went on to say that while he did not expect that the case would be able to be used directly in other cases, he did suggest that it “will be instructive for other courts.” He contends that Apple wouldn’t be unlocking the device directly – which is true.
The FBI is not requesting that Apple unlock the smartphone and give the government agency full access directly. Instead, they’re asking the Apple create an entirely new operating system, load it on to the phone, and allow the FBI to break in to the device without the restrictions of the system which makes users wait after trying too many incorrect passwords for access.
The U.S. Justice Department suggests something similar, saying that the request is only for Apple to disable “non-encrypted barriers” to access of the phone.
As Dustin Volz of Rueters suggests, Comey did not go so far as to say the situation was a sort of open-and-shut case. The question of whether or not Apple will or should be able to comply “is the hardest question I’ve seen in government” said Comey.
Meanwhile you’ll find groups around the country asking for similar access in light of this case. This month Cyrus Vance Jr., district attorney for Manhattan, suggested that the NYPD had 175 cases in which they’d like iPhones unlocked in a similar fashion to that of the FBI’s current case.
Vance went on to say that there are “tens of thousands of other cases” in which cell phones are part of criminal cases that’d need to be unlocked as well.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has equated the FBI request for unlocking this iPhone is like Software Cancer for the entire industry.