FBI Chief: Let's Calm Down Over iPhone Controversy

We don't want 'to set a master key loose on the land,' says Comey
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2016 6:15 AM CST
FBI Chief: Everyone Chill About iPhone Controversy
A man talks on his smartphone near an Apple store in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The back-and-forth between the FBI and Apple over unlocking an iPhone didn't let up over the weekend, with FBI chief James Comey getting in the last word in a blog post Sunday evening, reports NBC News. "I hope folks will take a deep breath and stop saying the world is ending, but instead use that breath to talk to each other," Comey writes. He suggests that Apple is exaggerating the implications of the FBI's demand to crack the security on the phone of the San Bernardino shooter. "We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist's passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly," he wrote. "That's it. We don't want to break anyone's encryption or set a master key loose on the land."

But earlier Sunday, Apple attorney Ted Olson said on ABC that doing so could open a "Pandora's box" in regard to privacy for millions of iPhone users, reports the Los Angeles Times. "There’s no limit to what the government could require Apple to do if it succeeds this way," he said. Apple "has to draw the line at re-creating code, changing its iPhone, putting its engineers and creative talents to destroy the iPhone as it exists." As the legal fight unfolds, CNN reports that some of the San Bernardino victims might publicly join the government's side. At the request of federal prosecutors, a lawyer has been talking to several families and plans to file a brief this week. (More Apple stories.)

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