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Apple CEO Tim Cook says it could create backdoor

Posted at 7:11 PM, Feb 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 22:11:31-05

Apple says it will NOT help investigators break into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, because it would leave other apple devices vulnerable.

A federal judge has ordered the company to help the FBI hack into Syed Farook's phone.

However, Apple CEO Tim Cook says that this could potentially impact tens of millions of apple devices and would entail building "a backdoor to the iPhone."

Investigators have been unable to get into Farook's phone and the government says it owes it to victims' families to investigate every aspect of the attack.

And even though Apple is refusing to create the software update right now, it could be a matter of time before the FBI will push forward and make this update a reality.

Comments flooded nearly every social media platform today with questions and concerns of this ruling and Cook’s response.

23 ABC was able to speak with many Kern County residents and their message was the same.

Things like “It's a slippery slope”, “It seems like a slippery slope” and “It'll open the flood gates. It'll be anything. We'll have no privacy,” were said by concerned residents.

One Kern County resident Kristen Baker is concerned about the first-of-its-kind ruling, that puts digital privacy against national security interests.

“I honestly feel like if they do this it's going to open the flood gates and we won't have any privacy whatsoever because this one step is going to lead to others and there's going to be no end at that point,” said Baker.

Other residents like Roger Magana said -- while it could help with the San Bernardino investigation, there are privacy problems with the proposed plan.

“I strongly believe that apple should stick with their plan. And the reason why is because the rest of the people we all need somehow, privacy,” said Magana.

While the court order only requires apple to give access to the San Bernardino suspect's phone, other companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook could be opened up to write similar security software for their devices.

Jacob Carins, a resident of Tehachapi explained why he believed this could all head downhill.

“You know it is a slippery slope because in some instances it would seem appropriate to prevent an attack but it seems like every time that's happened in the past, it's been used to spy on individual citizens,” said Carins.

Apple is arguing that it is not its role to act as a government agent and giving the FBI this type of access could breach trust with customers.

Kern County resident Jeffrey Schroer believes that if this does happen that here needs to be strict checks and balances that will assure safety for everyone.

“There's a balancing process that probably has to go on, with respect to balancing the privacy interest of those people, of those third parties, with again protecting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens,” said Schroer.

Apple CEO Tim Cook did write to his customers saying "The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor.”