WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Prominent Republicans criticized Apple on Wednesday for opposing a government request for help hacking into an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino attackers, calling the issue tough but important to boosting national security.
The technology company late on Tuesday said it was opposing a court order to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation break into an iPhone that belonged to the male shooter, Rizwan Farook, before the deadly Dec. 2 attacks in San Bernardino, California. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the demand threatened the security of Apple’s customers.
Donald Trump, a leading candidate for his party’s nomination to run for president on Nov. 8, said on Wednesday that unlocking the iPhone is “common sense.”
“Who do they think they are?” the billionaire developer said of Apple in an interview on Fox News. “We have to open it up.”
“I agree 100 percent with the courts,” he said.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, another candidate seeking the Republican nomination, called it a “tough issue” that would require government to work closely with the tech industry to find a solution.
At a campaign stop in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Rubio said he hoped Apple would voluntarily comply with the court order.
“Ultimately, I think being a good corporate citizen is important,” he said.
On Capitol Hill, U.S. Senator Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, echoed the candidates’ statements and said Apple had been asked to work with the FBI under a valid court order.
“Court orders are not optional, and Apple should comply,” Burr said in a statement.
Reporting by Megan Cassella and Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Jonathan Oatis | Reuters