Apple is already feeling the heat from potential customers for spurning the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) entreaties to open an iPhone central to the San Bernardino shooting investigation – Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a Wednesday statement.
The ban applies to replacement and upgrade phones for the Arizona county’s more than 900 employees. “Apple’s refusal to cooperate with a legitimate law enforcement investigation to unlock a phone used by terrorists puts Apple on the side of terrorists instead of on the side of public safety,” Montgomery said in a statement, calling Apple’s refusal to bend to federal prosecutors a “corporate PR stunt.”
If the Cupertino, Calif-based company’s concerns over potential “unauthorized access to an encryption key” is its true motivation, Montgomery said, then the problem should be defined and worked on as such. “Otherwise, Apple is proving indifferent to the need for evidence to hold people accountable who have harmed or intend to harm fellow citizens.”
He warned the company that it must pay the consequences of being the “official smartphone of terrorists and criminals” and said he couldn’t, “in good conscience,” do business with a company “that chooses to thwart an active investigation into a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of fourteen fellow citizens.”
Of the 564 smartphones currently in use throughout the Maricopa County Attorney’s office, 366 are iPhones.