The husband of one of the people that was shot in San Bernardino last December has backed Apple in its battle with the FBI , according to BuzzFeed.
Salihin Kondoker, the husband of Anies Kondoker, who survived the attack after being shot three times, has filed a friend of the court brief siding with Apple. The FBI is requesting Apple modifies the software on the shooter’s iPhone so that it could gain access to the device.
Kondoker was initially in support of the FBI but after reading the potential long term implications of the case he has changed his mind.
Writing in a letter to Judge Sheri Pym on Monday, Kondoker said he is doubtful that the phone will contain any information that will be particularly useful to the FBI. He also said he’s worried that what the government is demanding of Apple will invite rampant government surveillance.
“In my opinion it is unlikely there is any valuable information on this phone,” Salihin wrote in the letter, which was seen by BuzzFeed News.
“This was a work phone. My wife also had an iPhone issued by the County and she did not use it for any personal communication,” Salihin continued. “San Bernardino is one of the largest Counties in the country. They can track the phone on GPS in case they needed to determine where people were. Second, both the iCloud account and carrier account were controlled by the county so they could track any communications. This was common knowledge among my wife and other employees.”
“Why then would someone store vital contacts related to an attack on a phone they knew the county had access to? They destroyed their personal phones after the attack. And I believe they did that for a reason.”
Kondoker went on to say he was initially frustrated and confused about what was at stake.
“When I first learned Apple was opposing the order I was frustrated that it would be yet another roadblock. But as I read more about their case, I have come to understand their fight is for something much bigger than one phone,” he wrote.
A US judge has ordered Apple to assist the FBI in its attempt to access encrypted data on shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone 5C. But Apple argues that doing so would create a dangerous precedent and make all iPhone users less safe. Apple CEO Tim Cook argues that the move “would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
Cook wrote an open letter last month saying he would fight the FBI over its demand.
The FBI specifically wants Apple to remove the limit on the number of times the phone’s passcode can be tried before the data on the phone is automatically erased. It also wants Apple to modify its iOS operating system so passcodes can be input electronically. Apple argues that this workaround would later be open to abuse.
“The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone,” Cook’s letter read. “But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.”
FBI Director James Comey published a blog post on the specialist legal site Lawfare last month titled “We Could Not Look the Survivors in the Eye if We Did Not Follow this Lead.”
“The San Bernardino litigation isn’t about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message,” Comey wrote in the blog. “It is about the victims and justice.”
Silicon Valley executives including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai have endorsed Cook’s decision. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is yet to comment on the matter, but the Reform Government Surveillance organisation, of which Microsoft is a member, opposes the order.