The husband of a woman who survived the San Bernardino shooting has expressed his support for Apple in its ongoing standoff with the FBI. In a letter to Judge Sheri Pym, Salihin Kondoker said he initially felt that Apple should unlock an iPhone owned by one of the shooters, as the FBI has demanded, though he has since become convinced that the information on the phone would not be valuable enough to justify building a backdoor.
Anies Kondoker, Salihin's wife, was shot three times during the December 2nd attack, which left 14 people dead. The FBI has been pressuring Apple to unlock an iPhone 5c owned by one of the shooters, Syed Farook, on the grounds that it could shed light on who he was communicating with prior to staging the attack with his wife. Apple has refused to comply with the order, arguing that it would weaken the security of all iPhones, while setting a dangerous precedent for future investigations. The company filed a motion last week asking Judge Pym to vacate a district court order to unlock the phone.
"In my opinion it is unlikely there is any valuable information on this phone."
In the letter to Judge Pym, obtained by BuzzFeed News, Kondoker notes that the phone in question was a work device issued by the county of San Bernardino, and that it's therefore unlikely that Farook used it for personal communications. Anies Kondoker also used an iPhone issued by the county, and according to her husband, it was "common knowledge" that the local government could track the location of each device and access its iCloud data.
"Why then would someone store vital contacts related to an attack on a phone they knew the county had access to?" Kondoker writes in the letter. "[Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik] destroyed their personal phones after the attack. And I believe they did that for a reason."
"In my opinion it is unlikely there is any valuable information on this phone," the letter reads.
Kondoker said that forcing Apple to unlock the iPhone would jeopardize the privacy of many other consumers, as the company has argued, and that Apple "should stay firm in their decision." He also called for stronger gun laws to prevent future attacks. "It was guns that killed innocent people, not technology," Kondoker writes.
But the families of other victims in the attack have disagreed, with some filing a legal brief in support of the FBI. "They were targeted by terrorists, and they need to know why, how this could happen," a lawyer for the families told Reuters last week.
Bruce Sewell, Apple's general counsel, will testify before the House Judiciary Committee today. The company released its opening statement yesterday.