Maricopa County attorney’s office in Arizona to ban providing new iPhones to its staff.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement that “Apple’s refusal to cooperate with a legitimate law enforcement investigation to unlock a phone used by terrorists puts Apple on the side of terrorists instead of on the side of public safety.”
Montgomery described as a corporate PR stunt Apple’s positioning of its refusal to cooperate on privacy grounds. The evidence obtained through searches using warrants to unlock encrypted smartphones, including iPhones, have proven critical to the investigation and prosecution of defendants charged with drug trafficking, sexual exploitation, murder and other serious offenses, he added.
The department has 366 iPhone given to staff and it could get messy for Apple if other government departments follow suit.
“If Apple wants to be the official smartphone of terrorists and criminals, there will be a consequence,” Montgomery warned.
A study released by the Pew Research Centre found that 51 percent of respondents said they think Apple should unlock the iPhone to help the FBI with its investigation, while 38 percent opposed it.