He did Apple a big favor on China trade, and now ("NOW!") he wants something in return.
We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2020
My take: You don't have to be as computer-ignorant as Donald Trump to think that Apple has a key that would do the trick. Barack Obama knew better, but he still wanted a backdoor. Here's what he told the tech crowd at SXSW four years ago, before the San Bernardino shooter's password had been cracked:
If technologically it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong that there is no key, there’s no door at all, then how do we apprehend the child pornographer, how do we solve or disrupt a terrorist plot?
What mechanisms do we have available to even do simple things like tax enforcement because if in fact you can’t crack that at all, government can’t get in, then everybody is walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket.
- U.S. asks Apple to cripple its iPhone security system, again
- Pensacola: Here is Apple’s response to Bill Barr
- Apple 3.0's San Bernardino archives.
UPDATE, from the NYTimes:
Some of the frustration within Apple over the Justice Department is rooted in how police have previously exploited software flaws to break into iPhones. The Pensacola gunman’s phones were an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 7 Plus, according to a person familiar with the investigation who declined to be named because the detail was confidential.
Those phones, released in 2012 and 2016, lack Apple’s most sophisticated encryption. The iPhone 5 is even older than the device in the San Bernardino ca se, which was an iPhone 5C.
Security researchers and a former senior Apple executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity said tools from at least two companies, Cellebrite and Grayshift, have long been able to bypass the encryption on those iPhone models.