Probably the only company that can bypass the security measures of an Apple device is Apple, and that is what the government is now asking the company to do - hack itself.

But Apple can't - and won't - do it.

Apple has testified numerous times before numerous judges that it is technically unable to break into an iPhone. This is because Apple's security measures on the iPhone include an auto-erase feature.

When a user activates this function, it will erase all data on the device should incorrect credentials be entered 10 times into the iPhone. If such an attempt to do so were successful, it would have taken at least 10 years.

Moreover, however, Apple intends to keep its promise of protecting its customers' data above all else, even above what may seem like the law. In an open letter signed by Tim Cook, Apple reaches out to its customers to describe an unprecedented step taken by the government that could potentially set a precedent that would ultimately expose users to a greater risk of attack.

Due to the San Bernardino tragedy last December and the government's efforts to solve the case, a judge has ordered Apple to cooperate with the FBI to crack the password of the iPhone 5c the terrorists used.

Apple shares that is has done everything both within its power and within the law to help, but as mentioned above, it can only do so much. As a result, the FBI is now asking Apple to create a special version of iOS that would essentially create a backdoor to the iPhone.

Apple doesn't want to do it, and it seems that by sharing an open letter to the rest of the world, it hopes to garner public support.

"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. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control," writes Tim cook.

As smartphones become tactile physical representations of our lives as a whole - they hold our private conversations, photos, notes, contacts, financial information, health data and our location history - the need to protect that personal data is as equally important as possibly solving a crime.

In this case, instead of asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is using the All Writs Act of 1789 to extend its authority. In his final words, Tim Cook says that Apple challenges "the FBI's demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and love of our country" but also asks if it really is worth it.

"And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect," Tim Cook says in closing.

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr

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