- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2016

Tech giant Apple will reportedly get a three more days to respond to an order requiring the company to aid the FBI in hacking an iPhone belonging to one of the shooters who carried out a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

The company’s response to the order will now be due on Feb. 26 rather than on Tuesday, Bloomberg Business reported, citing two people familiar with the timeline of the case. The extended timeline would give Apple more time to strengthen its defense in opposition of the order.

However a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said Friday that no paperwork has been filed in the case in relation to an extension.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said hours after the order was issued on Tuesday that he would oppose it, calling the FBI’s requests a government overreach that would force the company to devise a “backdoor” to its encryption security features.

The order, issued by Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym of the Central California Federal District Court, would force Apple to provide technical assistance to the FBI so that agents could attempt to break the four-digit password that protects the work-issued cellphone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook.

Judge Pym’s order had originally required Apple to respond to the order within five business days.

Apple bristled at the order, with Mr. Cook warning that by devising a way to break the encryption on Farook’s phone, the privacy of everyday iPhone users would be put in danger.

“The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone,” Mr. Cook wrote in an open letter posted on the company’s website. “But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices.”

Tech companies and law enforcement agencies have now begun to take sides on the issue, with other Silicon Valley firms supporting Apple’s stance on privacy rights and police officials railing against the decision.

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