Some family members of San Bernardino victims back U.S. government

“Some family members of victims and survivors of the San Bernardino attack will file court papers in support of a judge’s order that Apple Inc. help the FBI hack into a locked iPhone as part of its investigation, a lawyer and others say,” Tami Abdollah and Amanda Lee Myers report for The Associated Press. “A Los Angeles attorney, Stephen Larson, said he represents at least several families of victims and other employees affected by the attack. He said the U.S. Attorney in the case, Eileen Decker, sought his help.”

“Robert Velasco, whose 27-year-old daughter Yvette Velasco was killed in the shooting, told The Associated Press that he didn’t have to think long before agreeing to have his name added to the legal filing in support of the FBI. ‘It is important to me to have my name in there,” Velasco said. “I lost my daughter in this and I want the court to see that I am seeking justice for my daughter… The only way to find out is to open up that phone and get in there. A lot of the families of the victims, we’re kind of angry and confused as to why Apple is refusing to do this,'” Abdollah and Myers report. “The appeal from victims’ family members gives the Justice Department additional support in a case that has sparked a national debate over digital privacy rights and national security interests. ”

“On Tuesday, former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who is representing Apple, said the company has invested heavily to design a secure phone and that if Apple submits to the government pressure in this instance, ‘it will happen again and again and again.’ Olson served as the government’s top lawyer before the Supreme Court during the administration of President George W. Bush,” Abdollah and Myers report. “Gregory Clayborn, whose 27-year-old daughter, Sierra, died in the attack, said he hasn’t been asked to join the case but believes Apple is obligated to unlock the phone. ‘This makes me a little bit angry with Apple,’ Clayborn said. ‘It makes me question their interest in the safety of this country.’ Clayborn said he understands Apple’s concerns, but unlocking one phone for the FBI, he said, is ‘as simple as it gets.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The lack of the ability to think critically is somewhat understandable from these emotional family members, but they need to take a step back and see the forest for the trees.

The U.S. government specifically chose this case in order to play on your emotions. Don’t let the government use you as a pawn.

The family members of the San Bernadino terrorism victims should be incensed that the U.S. federal government is using those tragic deaths in a despicable ploy to sway a confused portion of the public to support the trampling of their rights.

Those who wrongheadedly agree with these disingenuous government hacks need to realize that they are working to deliver exactly what the terrorists wanted to achieve with their murderous rampage. Aiding the murderous jihadists isn’t a proper way to memorialize stricken family members.

Don’t be blind. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be weak.

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! – Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

Visit the Apple-backed today.

Apple supporters to rally worldwide today against U.S. government demand to unlock iPhone – February 23, 2016
U.S. government seeks to force Apple to extract data from a dozen more iPhones – February 23, 2016
Apple CEO Cook: They’d have to cart us out in a box before we’d create a backdoor – February 22, 2016
Tim Cook’s memo to Apple employees: ‘This case is about more than a single phone’ – February 22, 2016
Obama administration: We’re only demanding Apple hack just one iPhone – February 17, 2016


    1. Exactly. It won’t bring the victims back, and it won’t bring justice either (which seems to be the reason behind the victims families’ support), nor will it bring them any sort of closure.

      And it won’t yield any meaningful intelligence either. As we had already read, the terrorists had wiped their entire digital (and physical) data trail, erasing hard drives, destroying mobile phones, shredding / burning paper. This was all done quite meticulously, and the only thing left behind was this one iPhone. Anyone with a functioning brain can see that the likelihood that this iPhone contains any meaningful information that might help prevent future attacks is literally ZERO.

      This is clearly and purely about government overreach.

    2. Emotional appeals do not logic make. I doubt that Apple’s lawyer, Ted Olson, is planning to exploit the fact that his wife died when her plane hit the Pentagon. The courts, like American society at large, need to balance the facts on both sides, not just the appeal to sympathy. Neither side has been particularly willing to do that.

      No, this is not a one-off deal. There are at least eight other pending Federal cases in which a US Attorney is seeking to force Apple’s cooperation. There are at least 175 locked iPhones seized in connection with criminal cases in New York City. All that is keeping the NYPD from seeking orders to force Apple’s cooperation is the company’s assurance that they do not currently have the means to unlock those phones. Once those means exist, the orders will inevitably follow from New York and every other jurisdiction in America.

      At least all of those orders will have to comply with US Constitutional standards. The hundreds of requests that will come from outside the USA will just need to satisfy the local laws. When the unlocking tool inevitably leaks, private hackers (and government secret agents) will have no restraints at all. It does not help the debate to minimize those consequences.

      Yes, victims do have rights. The “kidnapped child” scenario is not that far-fetched. There are already hundreds—perhaps thousands—of child pornographers who are at liberty to continue offending because they are hiding behind strong encryption. Behind every one of those thousands of dirty pictures is a raped child who will get no justice. Encryption is enabling lots of ordinary crimes, not just terrorism. It is giving us more privacy but less public safety. It does not help the debate to minimize those consequences, either.

      We—law enforcement officials as well as ordinary citizens—are between a rock and a hard place. It would be wonderful if we could just find a compromise, but I’m afraid the two sides are just too far apart. That is sad, because human history tells us that majorities will almost always prefer security to liberty if they are forced to make a choice.

    1. Terrorists already won, they murdered innocents, received tons of publicity hopefully spawning new recruits to execute more attacks.

      People who commit or are planning to commit capital crimes should not be able to hide behind their “right” to privacy, to use that privacy to conspire their deeds.

  1. These families should be incensed that the federal agencies again had abundant a priori information about these shooters, and elected to do nothing to stop them. My sympathy to the families, but they need to indeed look more careful at the dynamics here.

  2. The ‘government’ is attempting to manipulate public opinion on this matter with an emotionally charged justification for coercing Apple to do something that they wouldn’t / couldn’t do otherwise: sacrifice personal privacy for a perceived ‘safety’ measure.

    “It’s just this one time…” they say. No, it isn’t.

    “This matter is too important!” They always say that when trying to ram-rod something through that is bad for the American people.

    “Do it for the children!” Really? Demagoguery and obfuscation are hallmarks of an attempt at manipulation.

    The real question is: ‘Just who the hell let these people into the U.S. so that they could perpetrate these crimes against Americans?’

    1. “The real question is: ‘Just who the hell let these people into the U.S.”

      Syed Rizwan Farook was born in Chicago. As was Timothy McVeigh (and many others). Apparently, America is fully capable of breeding terrorists at home; no need for imports…

      1. Tashfeen Malik was born in Pakistan but lived most of her life in Saudi Arabia. Her original hometown was Karor Lal Esan, 280 miles (450 km) southwest of Islamabad, Pakistan. According to one of Farook’s coworkers, Malik and her husband married about a month after he traveled to Saudi Arabia in early 2014; the two had met over the internet. Malik joined Farook in California shortly after their wedding. Malik entered the United States on a K-1 (fiancée) visa with a Pakistani passport. Malik reportedly had become very religious in the years before the attack, wearing both the niqab and burqa while urging others to do so as well. Malik’s estranged relatives say that she had left the moderate Islam of her family and had become radicalized while living in Saudi Arabia.

        The U.S. feds blew it.

        According to a local Los Angeles news report, a neighbor of San Bernardino massacre suspects Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik didn’t report suspicious activity at their apartment for fear of being accused of racism.

        This is the same politically correct culture that lead to the Ft. Hood shooting when Nidal Hassan, who had been spouting violent Islamic propaganda to neighbors on post and reaching out to Al Qaeda, was ignored for fear of “Islamaphobia” accusations.

        Political Correctness, born and promulgated by the Democrat Party, is now killing people. You P.C. Police have blood on your hands.

  3. MDN, you’ve been coming up with some great comments these days, keep it up.

    The lack of the ability to think critically is what allows a lot of this government herding of it’s people.

    This topic has been here a few days, going over this issue and there is not a lot of pragmatic push in my opinion as to why there is encryption on the iPhone save for privacy which is a vague idea for some people.

    One definitive benefit of the iPhone Activation Lock is that is protects you against theft. Without this protection theft was a real big real issue and after Activation Lock there were reports of a “decline of 40 percent in the number of iPhones stolen in San Francisco and 25 percent in New York between September 2013 and September 2014.”

    Encryption is a two edged sword, yes it protects privacy but it allows for nefarious activities. Lack of encryption is a two edge sword, sure it makes things open to everyone but not everyone is honest.

    It’s the same for any technology, so the real point that requires critical thought is what kind of a society do you want to live in?

    The right to privacy or no right to privacy. Both are going to have crime and both could be the will of the people, depending on their country and their constitution as this issue is certainly beyond any borders.

    It’s a thorny issue to be sure, so thinking critically and feeling empathically are powerful tools to make the wise decision.

  4. Any tool can be used for good or for evil. Encryption does not allow for nefarious activities, rather it allows the hiding of some information related to those activities. It is not possible to leave no trace outside of the encrypted phone. The FBI need to look harder and stop relying on the crutch of easy access.

    These family members should be asking the FBI why they did nothing useful with all of the information they had about these two criminals before this heinous act.

  5. Who really believes the San Bernardino guy used his “work-issued cell phone” to indulge in terrorist activities? . . . and if the government cracks the phone, and finds there is nothing on there, do we get our freedom back?

    1. Exactly, since they actually destroyed their personal cell phones. The only value the iPhone at issue here has is to be the basis for forcing the creation of the ability to enslave private entities to do the will of the government.

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