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FBI agents called Tim Cook a hypocrite during 2016 iPhone security stand-off

Published Feb 10th, 2018 2:02PM EST
iPhone Security
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Recently unearthed text messages from the FBI reveal that a few agents had some less than flattering thoughts on Apple and Tim Cook. The text messages — which were dug up by Business Insider — were sent in the midst of the agency’s stand-off with Apple over a locked iPhone 5c involved in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist shooting.

If you recall, authorities investigating the shooting came into possession of an iPhone belonging to one of the shooters, only to discover that it was secured by a passcode. Unable to crack it, the FBI forcefully asked Apple to create a custom version of iOS which would enable it to enter in an unlimited number of guesses without prompting the phone to erase all of its stored data. Apple adamantly refused to create a tailor-made version of iOS, with Tim Cook going so far as to claim that the FBI wanted Apple to create the “software equivalent of cancer.”

Though the FBI eventually managed to access the iPhone 5c with the help of professional hackers, the verbal battle between the FBI and Apple sparked a fierce debate about how best to balance national security and individual privacy.

As to why the messages were recently made public, BI reports:

The exchange between FBI agents Strzok and Page is part of hundreds of pages of bureau text messages recently published by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs as part of a Republican-driven investigation into how the the bureau handled the Hillary Clinton probe.

Not surprisingly, some FBI agents were beyond incensed at Apple’s stance, with one essentially calling Apple CEO Tim Cook a hypocrite for taking a strong position on user privacy while, at the same time, releasing an OS “designed to track me without me even knowing it.”

Hardly a surprise, Tim Cook figures prominently in a few exchanges. In one exchange, an agent makes a joke about Tim Cook falling off the face of the earth. In another, the agents are incredulous that Tim Cook was on a list of potential running mates for Hillary Clinton.

A full rundown of the texts can be viewed over here.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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