Apple's Software Chief Says FBI Wants to 'Turn Back the Clock' on Security

PHOTO: Craig Federighi, Apples senior vice president of Software Engineering, speaks during Apple WWDC on June 8, 2015 in San Francisco.PlayJustin Sullivan/Getty Images
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As the battle between Apple and the FBI continues, the iPhone maker's software chief, Craig Federighi, is weighing in on a fight that he says has the potential to "turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies."

In an opinion piece published Sunday in the Washington Post, Federighi said the FBI has suggested iOS 7 -- Apple's 2013 operating system -- should be the standard. However, he noted "the security of iOS 7, while cutting-edge at the time, has since been breached by hackers."

"Software innovations of the future will depend on the foundation of strong device security," he said. "We cannot afford to fall behind those who would exploit technology in order to cause chaos. To slow our pace, or reverse our progress, puts everyone at risk."

With engineers writing millions of lines of code, Federighi said even the best ones can make mistakes.

"Identifying and fixing those problems are critical parts of our mission to keep customers safe. Doing anything to hamper that mission would be a serious mistake," he said. "That’s why it’s so disappointing that the FBI, Justice Department and others in law enforcement are pressing us to turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies."

The FBI has called on Apple to help get into the iPhone of Syed Farook, who, along with wife Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 and injured 22 at a holiday party in December in San Bernardino, California. Last month, at the request of the Justice Department, a federal judge ordered Apple to assist law enforcement.

Apple has filed a motion to vacate the order, arguing that "rather than pursue new legislation, the government backed away from Congress and turned to the courts, a forum ill-suited to address the myriad competing interests, potential ramifications, and unintended consequences presented by the government’s unprecedented demand."

The motion goes on to say by invoking "terrorism," the government "sought to cut off debate and circumvent thoughtful analysis."

In an exclusive interview with ABC News last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the government's request could undermine the privacy of millions of people.

"I think safety of the public is incredibly important -- safety of our kids, safety of our family is very important," Cook said. "The protection of people's data is incredibly important, and so the trade-off here is we know that doing this could expose people to incredible vulnerabilities."