Apple Inc. has based its defense opposing a court order compelling it to hack an iPhone belonging to one of the shooters in the San Bernardino shootings on free speech rights and a desire to protect its customers’ privacy. Apparently not everyone agrees with this. And it isn’t just the court or the law enforcement officials who are interested in having the tech giant help them get around the phone’s pass-code.
Victims Deserve Justice
The new opposition comes from a group of survivors of the Dec. 2 shooting incident, which left 14 people dead and 22 others seriously injured.
The victims are represented by an attorney Stephen Larson, previously a federal judge before he went to private practice. The attorney, in a legal brief, says Apple should comply with the court order as the victims whom he is representing want to know why they were targeted.
“They were targeted by terrorists, and they need to know why, how this could happen,” Larson said, according to New York Daily News.
Larson made known his intention to file an amicus brief by early March, though he refused to divulge how many survivors he represents. However, he says he will represent them free-of-charge.
The San Bernardino attacks were carried out by a married couple; Syed Rizwan Farouk and his wife Tashfeen Malik, who went on a gun rampage, before they were gunned down by law enforcement agents.
Police managed to obtain an iPhone belonging to Mr. Farouk, which is encrypted. The encryption is designed in such a way that data stored within is completely erased after 10 failed pass-code trials.
The move by the victims is likely to give a boost to the federal government in its legal battle with Apple, which argues that the court order would set a “dangerous precedent” that will give terrorists and cyber criminals a leeway to execute their infernal vices.
This argument has been opposed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, who in a Sunday letter; said the agency simply wants to find justice for the survivors and also monitor other threats, instead of setting a legal precedent.
Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, a former federal prosecutor turned judge, issued a ruling in favor of the Justice Department. Apple intends to table its defense on Friday, with hearing set for next month.
Larson once presided over cases in Riverside, and Pym argued cases in Larson’s courtroom several times as a prosecutor while Larson was a judge, he said. Larson returned to private practice in 2009, saying at the time that a judge’s salary was not enough to provide for his seven children.
Most Tech Firms are Backing Apple
Apple has won the backing of major tech firms, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. , Yahoo! Inc. , and Microsoft Corporation . Chinese firm Huawei has also thrown its weight behind Apple.
“Privacy protection is very important for Huawei, we put a lot of investment into privacy, and security protection is key, it is very important for the consumer,” said Richard Yu, Huawei’s Chief Executive Officer for consumer business group.