FBI owes it to victims to try to hack San Bernardino gunman's phone: director

WASHINGTON - The FBI owes it to the victims of the San Bernardino terror attack to do what it can to gain access to the locked cellphone used by one of the gunmen, FBI Director James Comey said Sunday night.

See Full Article

In a statement posted on the Lawfare blog, Comey sought to defend the FBI demand for access to the phone as well as counter arguments from Apple Inc. that its court fight with the company risks threatening the digital privacy of Apple customers all over the world.

"We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist's passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly. That's it," Comey wrote in a four-paragraph statement. "We don't want to break anyone's encryption or set a master key loose on the land."

The iPhone used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people in the December 2 rampage, may or may not hold clues to finding more terrorists, Comey wrote.

"But," he added "we can't look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don't follow this lead."

The statement continues the verbal back-and-forth between Apple and the Justice Department that surfaced last Tuesday, when a magistrate judge in California directed Apple to help the FBI hack into the password-protected phone. The judge's order directs Apple to create specialized software that could be loaded onto the phone to bypass a self-destruct feature that erases all data after 10 consecutive, unsuccessful attempts to guess the unlocking passcode. That way, the FBI could use technology to rapidly and repeatedly test numbers in what's known as a brute force attack.

Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook, has strongly objected to the government's request, and the company is expected to file its opposition in court this week.

Comey did acknowledge in his statement that the clash has laid bare a tension between privacy and security. But he said that divide should not be resolved by the FBI nor "corporations that sell stuff for a living."

"It should be resolved by the American people deciding how we want to govern ourselves in a world we have never seen before," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli won't stop talking, except to jury in trial

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli says on social media that he's being railroaded at his securities fraud trial, but he won't be defending himself in court. Jurors heard testimony from the government's last witness on Tuesday, a day after a lawyer for the former biotech CEO told the court that his client had chosen not to take the witness stand. Source
  • Ohio set to end 3-year hiatus with execution of child killer

    World News CTV News
    LUCASVILLE, Ohio -- Ohio is preparing to put a condemned child killer to death in the state's first execution in more than three years. Forty-three-year-old Ronald Phillips is scheduled to die Wednesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. Source
  • Rights groups ask Duterte to retract threat to bomb schools

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines -- Human rights groups asked the Philippine president Wednesday to retract a threat to order airstrikes against tribal schools he accused of teaching students to become communist rebels, warning such an attack would constitute a war crime. Source
  • Wild New Zealand rabbits surf on sheep to escape floodwaters

    World News CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Three wild rabbits managed to escape rising floodwaters in New Zealand by clambering aboard a flock of sheep and surfing to safety on their woolly backs. Sixty-four-year-old Ferg Horne says he's been farming since he left school at age 15 and has never seen anything quite like it. Source
  • Orca whale repeatedly rams fishing boat, Alaska man says

    World News Toronto Sun
    SITKA, Alaska — An Alaska man said his boat was attacked over the weekend by an orca during a salmon fishing excursion with his 14-year-old son and two other people. Victor Littlefield of Sitka said the killer whale repeatedly rammed the boat, yanked its anchor line and slapped the boat’s bow with its tail. Source
  • Man accused of smuggling king cobras in potato chip cans

    World News Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — A man was arrested on federal smuggling charges Tuesday after customs officers intercepted a shipment with three live king cobras hidden inside potato chip canisters that were being mailed to his California home, U.S. Source
  • Europe rights court: Sex still important for older women

    World News CTV News
    LISBON, Portugal -- Judges in Portugal were guilty of sexual discrimination in a medical compensation case when they decided that the importance of sex diminished with the age of a woman, Europe's human rights court ruled in a judgment published Tuesday. Source
  • Toronto courier company offers work, support to those with developmental disabilities

    Canada News CTV News
    For many people with developmental disabilities, finding a full-time job that provides the necessary support is a major challenge. It’s estimated that more than 70 per cent of Canadian adults with developmental disabilities are unemployed, according to Statistics Canada. Source
  • Australia's highest-ranking Catholic in court to face sex charges

    World News CBC News
    The most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis made his first court appearance in Australia on Wednesday in a scandal that has stunned the Holy See and threatened to tarnish the pope's image as a crusader against abusive clergy. Source
  • First Nations treaties, revenue sharing top priorities with B.C. NDP government

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- British Columbia's new premier has placed First Nations issues near the top of his government's to-do list, committing his cabinet to transforming stalled treaty talks and negotiating revenue-sharing agreements. The priority shift prompted a "hallelujah" Tuesday from one Indigenous leader. Source