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Apple, the FBI and a terrorist’s iPhone

Bill Coffin | February 19, 2016

This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter describing why Apple was resisting a request from the FBI to provide a method to gain “back door” access to the iPhone, as part of an ongoing investigation to the San Bernadino mass attack on Dec. 2, 2015. The mass shooting and attempted bombing carried out by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, killed 14, wounded 22, and is considered to be the worst terror attack on U.S. soil since the September 11 attacks some 15 years before.

Details surrounding Farook and Malik ultimately suggested that they were, as FBI Director James Comey described, violent, homegrown extremists who were inspired by foreign terrorist organizations. The big question was whether the pair were part of a larger terror organization, so their every communication was examined in close detail. Until they hit one of the shooter’s iPhones.

The FBI was unable to unlock the phone, due to the point-to-point encryption it provides, specifically to its...

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