If Florida investigators need to unlock an iPhone, Apple CEO Tim Cook better provide assistance, the sheriff says.
A Central Florida Sheriff has threatened to arrest Apple’s CEO, should the Cupertino tech giant fail to decrypt an iPhone at his request.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd made the comments at a press conference last week about the arrest of three men accused of killing a drug dealer in Lakeland, Fla., according to Fox 13 News.
The suspects in question have been cooperating with investigators, and provided the passcodes to their cell phones, which reportedly contain photos of the victim’s body.
But should Polk County investigators have trouble unlocking an iPhone in the future, Apple CEO Tim Cook better be ready to provide assistance, Judd said.
“I can tell you, the first time we do have trouble getting into a cell phone, we’re going to seek a court order from Apple.
And when they deny us, I’m going to go lock the CEO of Apple up,” he promised. “I’ll lock the rascal up.”
When specifically asked about Apple’s move to fight an FBI order seeking assistance in unlocking an iPhone 5c owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters, Judd said Apple has a responsibility to comply.
“You cannot create a business model to go, ‘We’re not paying attention to the federal judge or the state judge. You see, we’re above the law,'” he said. “The CEO of Apple needs to know he’s not above the law, and neither is anybody else in the United States.”
Of course, that kind of rhetoric largely proves Cook’s point in that the FBI’s request to create an alternative OS to unlock the shooter’s iPhone is a one-off thing.
The agency says it needs the encryption cracked just this once, but Cook says that will open the floodgates of requests from other law enforcement officials here and abroad.
Meanwhile, if you’re still wondering why Apple’s encryption fight with the FBI is a big deal, let John Oliver break it down for you.
The host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight addressed the ongoing encryption debate on his show last night, explaining both sides before voicing support for Cupertino.