Some San Bernardino mass shooting victims support efforts to hack iPhone

WASHINGTON -- Some family members of victims and survivors of the San Bernardino attack will file court papers in support of a judge's order that Apple Inc.

See Full Article

help the FBI hack into a locked iPhone as part of its investigation, a lawyer and others say.

A Los Angeles attorney, Stephen Larson, said he represents at least several families of victims and other employees affected by the attack. He said the U.S. Attorney in the case, Eileen Decker, sought his help.

Larson said he will file a brief supporting the Justice Department before March 3.

The victims "have questions that go simply beyond the criminal investigation ... in terms of why this happened, how this happened, why they were targeted, is there anything about them on the iPhone -- things that are more of a personal victim" view, Larson said.

Robert Velasco, whose 27-year-old daughter Yvette Velasco was killed in the shooting, told The Associated Press that he didn't have to think long before agreeing to have his name added to the legal filing in support of the FBI.

"It is important to me to have my name in there," Velasco said. "I lost my daughter in this and I want the court to see that I am seeking justice for my daughter."

Velasco said the phone could reveal other extremist plots or that other people were involved in planning the San Bernardino attack.

"The only way to find out is to open up that phone and get in there," he said. "A lot of the families of the victims, we're kind of angry and confused as to why Apple is refusing to do this."

The appeal from victims' family members gives the Justice Department additional support in a case that has sparked a national debate over digital privacy rights and national security interests. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym ordered Apple last week to assist investigators by creating specialized software that would let the FBI rapidly test random passcode combinations to try to unlock the iPhone and view data stored on it.

The county-issued iPhone 5C was used by Syed Farook, who with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people at an office holiday party in December before they died in a gun battle with police. The government said they had been at least partly inspired by the Islamic State.

The couple physically destroyed two personal phones so completely that the FBI has been unable to recover information from them.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that the FBI's request is "quite limited in scope" and called it "an effective way for the FBI to follow their regular procedure as they conduct this independent investigation, but also stay true to the kinds of principles that the president has discussed publicly about the need for robust encryption methods."

Earnest said the sides needed to hash things out in court and questioned whether Congress -- as Apple and others have suggested -- would be an effective medium for solving issues evoked by the court order.

Farook had worked as a county health inspector. Larson said the government has a strong case because of Farook's diminished privacy interests as a "dead, murderous terrorist" and because the phone was owned by his employer, the county government. "You're weighing that against the interest of enforcement in an investigation and the victims and their interest in obtaining this knowledge," he said.

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook has said that creating such software is a dangerous precedent that would threaten data security for millions by making essentially a master key that could later be duplicated and used against other phones.

Gregory Clayborn, whose 27-year-old daughter, Sierra, died in the attack, said he hasn't been asked to join the case but believes Apple is obligated to unlock the phone.

"This makes me a little bit angry with Apple," Clayborn said. "It makes me question their interest in the safety of this country."

Clayborn said he understands Apple's concerns, but unlocking one phone for the FBI, he said, is "as simple as it gets."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday expressed his support for Apple while in Barcelona, Spain, to speak at the Mobile World Congress, saying he believes in helping the government in its fight against terrorism but that encryption is important.

"I don't think that back doors into encryption is going to increase security or is in the direction the world is going," he said.

Apple's supporters planned to protest the FBI's demands on Tuesday evening outside Apple's stories in about 50 cities in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Hong Kong.

A Pew Research Center survey found that 51 per cent of Americans said Apple should unlock the iPhone, while 38 per cent said Apple should not -- and that it should ensure the security of user information. The remainder gave no opinion. The telephone survey was conducted Feb. 18 through Feb. 21 among 1,002 adults.

Myers reported from Los Angeles. AP writers Eric Tucker in Washington and Joe Wilson in Barcelona, Spain, contributed to this report



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Young scientists from Vancouver take aim at hard-to-recycle plastics

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Two young Canadian scientists have created a process that can break down plastics that would otherwise end up in landfills or oceans. BioCellection, a California-based environmental start-up founded by 23-year-old Vancouver natives Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao, is focusing on recycling plastics that cannot be recycled. Source
  • Koko, the gorilla famous for learning sign language, has died

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Koko, the gorilla who is believed to have mastered sign language, has died. The Gorilla Foundation says the 46-year-old western lowland gorilla died in her sleep at the foundation's preserve in California's Santa Cruz mountains on Tuesday. Source
  • New app aims to preserve Indigenous language

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A new mobile app has launched that allows users to learn words and phrases in a traditional Indigenous language in order to promote retention and growth of Indigenous language and culture. The Challenge4Change app teaches users Anishinaabemowin, which was once the everyday language of many Indigenous communities in Ontario with close to 100 dialects. Source
  • More than 20 countries aim to toughen climate goals by 2020

    Tech & Science CBC News
    More than 20 nations ranging from Canada to France to Britain to Pacific island states said on Thursday they would try to limit their greenhouse gas emissions more than already planned under the Paris climate agreement by 2020. Source
  • Why are dead hummingbirds showing up for sale? Investigating the love charm black market

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Read story transcript Researcher and bird enthusiast Pepper Trail has been haunted by an unusual case that began in 2013 when a box full of dead hummingbirds arrived in his Ashland, Ore., lab. There were about 70 of them — carefully dried, dressed with red satin threads and packaged with a Spanish prayer printed on a tiny strip of paper. Source
  • Orlando International Airport to scan faces of U.S. citizens

    Tech & Science CTV News
    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Florida's busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement Thursday at Orlando International Airport alarms some privacy advocates who say there are no formal rules in place for handling data gleaned from the scans, nor formal guidelines on what should happen if a passenger is wrongly prevented from…
  • Tyrannosaurus rex could not stick out its tongue: study

    Tech & Science CTV News
    The Tyrannosaurus rex is crowned the "lizard king" of the dinosaurs, a historically fierce meat-eater often depicted lashing out its tongue. But researchers said Wednesday this would have been anatomically impossible. That's because the long-extinct T. Source
  • Lion euthanized after escape from cage in Belgian zoo

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- A female lion has been euthanized after escaping from its cage in a Belgian zoo. Planckendael zoo was evacuated after the escape Thursday. Spokeswoman Ilse Segers said the lion did not get out of the zoo area and that no visitors were in danger. Source
  • Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WOODSIDE, Calif. - Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died. The Gorilla Foundation says the 46-year-old western lowland gorilla died in its sleep at the foundation's preserve in California's Sana Cruz mountains on Tuesday. Source
  • University of Waterloo invites Indigenous girls to explore tech careers

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Emma Smith remembers being a girl on the Western University campus in London taking part in a health sciences camp specifically for Indigenous girls. Smith, who is Anishnabeg and is from Walpole Island, said the camp "was something that kind of kept with me for a number of years. Source