Days after Apple’s CEO wrote an open letter to customers, the head of the FBI responded with his own message, urging those involved to “take a deep breath and stop saying the world is ending.”
FBI Director James Comey made his case in a blog post on the Lawfare web site that was published Sunday night, the latest exchange in a battle over the FBI’s attempts to get Apple to help the bureau unlock an iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.
The FBI leader’s post comes as Apple faces a court-issued deadline to formally respond to the FBI’s request for help by this Friday.
“We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land,”Comey wrote, later adding, “Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists. Maybe it doesn’t. But we can’t look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don’t follow this lead.”
Over the weekend, it emerged that shortly after government officials obtained the iPhone Farook used, a San Bernardino County employee working with federal authorities reset the password for its iCloud account — meaning the phone could no longer perform an automatic wireless backup that could have enabled Apple to recover information.