Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced his company wasn’t helping the FBI break into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. That was always going to be a fraught decision, and now, some surviving victims are speaking out against the tech giant. Not in the media, though — in court.
Stephen Larson, a lawyer representing the victims, told Reuters they will file an amicus brief in March to help the feds make Apple unlock Syed Farook’s iPhone. This is in support to a Justice Department filing announced Friday.
“They were targeted by terrorists, and they need to know why, how this could happen,” Larson said.
Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 29, allegedly killed 14 and injured 22 at a government building in San Bernardino, California on December 2. The couple had been inspired by ISIS, though no concrete ties to the terrorist group have been confirmed. They were later killed in a gunfight with police.
The investigation is ongoing, amid confusion about a possible third shooter, and problems breaking into the phone. Apple turned down the fed’s request for a hackable iPhone operating system because of a fear it’d later be used to invade the privacy of innocent people.
Larson told Reuters the Justice Department contacted him just before Apple made the announcement. He wouldn’t say how many of the 22 wounded he was representing.
“While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor to our products,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in last week’s statement. “And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
“The particular legal issue is actually quite narrow,” FBI Director James Comey said in a statement released Sunday. “The relief we seek is limited and its value increasingly obsolete because the technology continues to evolve.” Comey said it was about investigating in a timely, legal manner without accidentally damaging the phone. “That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.”
[image via ABC screengrab]
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