Apple may be set to test speech recognition of the legal kind.
The tech giant's refusal to help unlock a mass shooter's iPhone opens a can of legal worms. U.S. national security, a more than 225-year-old statute and concerns expressed by survivors of the attack may force Chief Executive Tim Cook's hand, but his privacy points are strong.
A novel free-speech argument could give the company an edge.
U.S. prosecutors escalated the battle on Friday, again demanding Apple produce software to make it easier for the FBI to hack a phone used by one of the perpetrators of a shooting that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in December. Apple countered by publishing a new Q&A on Monday.
The feds have the cooperation of the device's owner – the shooter's employer – as well as a warrant. But they can't get all the data they want unless Apple writes what it claims is "an entirely new operating system" with drastically weakened protections against a trial-and-error approach to guessing the passcode that will unlock the phone itself.