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View all…While many tech companies, cryptographers, and privacy advocates have lined up publicly behind Apple in its ongoing fight with federal prosecutors, the company now has an unexpected ally: a San Bernardino man whose wife was shot and severely injured during the December 2015 terrorist attack.
On Thursday, Apple published Salihin Kondoker’s letter to the federal judge overseeing the case. In the letter, Kondoker describes how his wife, a San Bernardino County Health Department employee, was shot three times during the attack but survived.
Kondoker describes himself as an IT consultant for Pacific Gas & Electric, a public utility that serves much of California.
As he wrote:
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.
They are worried that this software the government wants them to use will be used against millions of other innocent people.
I share their fear.
I support Apple and the decision they have made.
I don’t believe Tim Cook or any Apple employee believes in supporting terrorism any more than I do.
I think the vicious attacks I’ve read in the media against one of America’s greatest companies are terrible.
He went on to explain that his wife also had a county-issued iPhone, noting that both the “iCloud account and the carrier account” were controlled and paid for by the county.
“This was common knowledge among my wife and other employees,” Kondoker continued. “Why then would someone store vital contacts related to an attack on a phone they knew the county had access to? [The terrorists] destroyed their personal phones after the attack.
And I believe they did that for a reason.”
As he concluded:
Finally, and the reason for my letter to the court, I believe privacy is important and Apple should stay firm in their decision. Neither I, nor my wife, want to raise our children in a world where privacy is the tradeoff for security.
I believe this case will have a huge impact all over the world.
You will have agencies coming from all over the world to get access to the software the FBI is asking Apple for.
It will be abused all over to spy on innocent people.
America should be proud of Apple. Proud that it is an American company and we should protect them not try to tear them down.
I support them in this case and I hope the court will too.
Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated the company’s firm commitment to privacy and its resolve to fight the unprecedented court order.
If the order stands up to legal challenges, Apple would be forced to create a new customized iOS firmware that would remove the passcode lockout on a seized iPhone 5c as part of the ongoing investigation.
Doing so would allow federal investigators to brute-force the passcode in order to gain access to the phone’s content.
Last week, Apple filed its formal legal response and set the stage for an important court hearing in nearby Riverside later this month.
Earlier this week, a different judge in a related case ruled in favor of Apple, saying that the company did not have to help the government even if it was able to do so.
Both the government and Apple are set to appear before US Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym in Riverside on March 22.