FBI director on Apple clash: ‘Take a deep breath’ in debate over privacy and safety – Los Angeles Times

11 months ago Comments Off on FBI director on Apple clash: ‘Take a deep breath’ in debate over privacy and safety – Los Angeles Times

The FBI is resorting to the courts to force Apple to unlock the San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone not to “set a precedent or send any kind of message,” but to conduct a complete investigation, FBI Director James Comey said Sunday.

In a plainspoken statement, Comey said that the scale of the San Bernardino attacks, which left 14 people dead and 22 people injured warranted the pursuit of all leads, including reviewing Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c.

“I hope folks will take a deep breath and stop saying the world is ending, but instead use that breath to talk to each other,” Comey said. 

“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 said. “We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.”

Comey’s statement served as a rejoinder to comments made earlier in the day by Apple attorney Ted Olson, who predicted the FBI’s request would unleash “Pandora’s box” and compromise the privacy of millions of Apple customers.

“There’s no limit to what the government could require Apple to do if it succeeds this way,” Olson told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” But Apple “has to draw the line at re-creating code, changing its iPhone, putting its engineers and creative talents to destroy the iPhone as it exists,” Olson said.

The FBI has been investigating the Dec. 2 attacks by Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, who stormed into the Inland Regional Center and gunned down his coworkers in the San Bernardino County Public Health Department.

Investigators believe Farook’s smartphone, issued to him by the county, “may contain critical communications” around the time of the shooting. The FBI has a warrant to search the iPhone, but Apple’s encryption technology erases the phone’s data after 10 failed attempts to break the passcode.

FBI director on Apple clash: ‘Take a deep breath’ in debate over privacy and safety – Los Angeles Times