On February 25, Apple filed its response to Magistrate Judge Sherri Pym’s order that Apple create and turn over to the FBI a “back door” that would effectively bypass the iPhone’s passcode feature by allowing the government to electronically try as many passcode variants as necessary without triggering the usual data wipe that happens after ten failed passcode attempts. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, this would make the hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads around the world vulnerable to hackers or foreign spies if the malware were stolen.
A key part of Apple’s argument was that if Congress wanted to legislatively mandate back doors, it would’ve done so by now. “Moreover, members of Congress have recently introduced three pieces of legislation that would affirmatively prohibit the government from forcing private companies like Apple to compromise data security,” Apple’s attorneys wrote. They specifically cited the Secure Data Act, as well as the End Warrantless Surveillance of Americans Act.