Whatsapp & Apple resist FBI in iPhone ‘master key’ standoff

Whatsapp and Apple are engaged in a standoff with the FBI over the government’s demand that the Apple build a ‘master key’ to the iPhone in order to allow it to break into suspects phones.

Describing such a move as ‘unprecedented’ Apple is categorically refusing to kowtow to the demands and has received the backing of Facebook-owned Whatsapp for its principled stance.

In a statement Apple chief executive Tim Cook said: “The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers."

"We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”

Lending his support Whatsapp co-founder Jan Koum wrote in a Facebook post: “I have always admired Tim Cook for his stance on privacy and Apple’s efforts to protect user data and couldn’t agree more with everything said in their Customer Letter today. We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today our freedom and our liberty is at stake.”

Not everyone is supportive however with the family of murdered fusilier Lee Rigby calling on Apple to switch tack and do all they can to assist authorities in their investigation. Speaking to the BBC Rigby’s uncle Ray McClure accused Apple of ‘protecting a murderer’s privacy at the cost of public safety’.

The FBI is attempting to crack a locked iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook who gunned down 14 people in San Bernardino, California.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.