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Victims of San Bernardino shooting support FBI in iPhone encryption debate

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Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter have come out against attempts by the FBI to force Apple to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, but now the US government is getting its own heavyweight support. Some of the victims of last December's mass shooting are set to formalize their support of the US government's stance, Reuters reports, filing a legal brief that supports the FBI's efforts to gain access to the passcoded device.

Stephen Larson, a lawyer representing some of the victims, said that his clients had an interest in the contents of Syed Rizwan Farook's phone. "They were targeted by terrorists," Larson told Reuters, "and they need to know why, how this could happen." It's not clear how many of the people involved in the attack — in which Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 and wounded 22 — the lawyer represents, but he said the amicus brief in support of the FBI would be filed in March.

It's not clear how many victims will be named in the brief

Apple has publicly pushed back against the FBI's historic order to unlock the iPhone used by one of the attack's perpetrators. CEO Tim Cook argued in an open letter that the FBI's demands constituted an "an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers." In the meantime, the director of the FBI has downplayed security concerns, saying the Bureau simply wants "to try to guess the terrorist's passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly." Major tech companies have supported Apple in its defiance, but the input from those actually caught in the massacre foreshadows one of the most important legal battles in Apple's history.