Pensacola: Here is Apple’s response to Bill Barr

“There is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys.”

Full text as sent to Apple 3.0:

We were devastated to learn of the tragic terrorist attack on members of the US armed services at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida on December 6th. We have the greatest respect for law enforcement and routinely work with police across the country on their investigations. When law enforcement requests our assistance, our teams work around the clock to provide them with the information we have.

We reject the characterization that Apple has not provided substantive assistance in the Pensacola investigation. Our responses to their many requests since the attack have been timely, thorough and are ongoing.

Within hours of the FBI’s first request on December 6th, we produced a wide variety of information associated with the investigation. From December 7th through the 14th, we received six additional legal requests and in response provided information including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts.

We responded to each request promptly, often within hours, sharing information with FBI offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola and New York. The queries resulted in many gigabytes of information that we turned over to investigators. In every instance, we responded with all of the information that we had.

The FBI only notified us on January 6th that they needed additional assistance — a month after the attack occurred. Only then did we learn about the existence of a second iPhone associated with the investigation and the FBI’s inability to access either iPhone. It was not until January 8th that we received a subpoena for information related to the second iPhone, which we responded to within hours. Early outreach is critical to accessing information and finding additional options.

We are continuing to work with the FBI, and our engineering teams recently had a call to provide additional technical assistance. Apple has great respect for the Bureau’s work, and we will work tirelessly to help them investigate this tragic attack on our nation.

We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys. Backdoors can also be exploited by those who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. Today, law enforcement has access to more data than ever before in history, so Americans do not have to choose between weakening encryption and solving investigations. We feel strongly encryption is vital to protecting our country and our users’ data.

My take: Who you gonna trust, Tim Cook or Bill Barr?


  1. Fred Stein said:

    Barr knows that the law enforcement and encryption debate was settled two decades ago. That shows his character.

    The .5% decline shows that the market knows he’s playing to the cheap seats.

    January 14, 2020
    • Gregg Thurman said:

      The .5% decline shows that the market knows he’s playing to the cheap seats.

      Actually I think today’s decline has much more to do with AAPL’s recent trajectory more closely aligning itself with its trend line since December 3rd. AAPL’s intraday low ($312.75) remains solidly above that trend line.

      January 14, 2020
      • Fred Stein said:

        I should have explained in more detail. A move of such modest proportion, .5%, shows the market pretty much ignored Barr’s comments.

        January 14, 2020
    • David Emery said:

      I guess no one explained that part of the law to James Comey, either, or to the Holder Justice Department that was quiet when Comey pursued this.

      (My point is this particular push is NOT unique to the Trump administration.)

      January 15, 2020
  2. Gregg Thurman said:

    As a former police officer, I am wholeheartedly behind Apple’s position. The FBI knows who committed this crime. Access to calling records, voice mails, emails, and text messages are needed to expand the investigation, something that is not required to get a conviction in this case.

    It will take longer and be more difficult, but the suspect’s life can be reconstructed, and in doing so a list of known associates will be identified.

    In this case, gaining access to calling records, etc on the suspect’s iPhone makes the investigation easier, but not more complete.

    January 14, 2020
  3. Thomas Larkin said:

    At the risk of being overly provocative, maybe the AG’s office should contract with Huawei to help crack the phone in question and design a back door for new iPhones?

    January 14, 2020
  4. John Butt said:

    Who’s the good guys? From here in NZ that is not the Americans.

    Any door, back or front would be available to all countries law enforcement

    January 14, 2020

Leave a Reply