Apple tried to help find Malaysia Airlines flight 370

Apple and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

While Apple may not be willing to help the FBI crack the encryption on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, the company says it has routinely helped law enforcement in matters of public service.

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Apple’s General Counsel Bruce Sewell was asked about the company’s willingness to cooperate with investigations.

Sewell immediately pointed to Apple’s assistance during the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight 370.

“When the Malaysia Airline plane went down, within one hour of that plane being declared missing, we had Apple operators cooperating with telephone providers all over the world, with the airlines and with local law enforcement [and] the FBI to try to find a ping, to try to find some way we could locate where that plane was,” Sewell said.

Fragments of flight 370 were discovered in June 2015 but investigators have not been able to determine what went wrong on that flight.

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Apple also says it works with the FBI and other agencies whenever legally possible.

Citing its First Amendment rights, Apple claims that it cannot be compelled to write software it doesn’t want to create.

The company worries that such software would create a backdoor that could be used to unlock millions of iPhones.