Three media groups are pressuring the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to disclose exactly how much it cost to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5c.
BBC reports Associated Press, Vice Media and USA Today-owner Gannett have submitted court filings to force the government to reveal precisely how much it cost to circumvent the defenses of the iPhone handset used by serial killer Syed Rizwan Farook.
Outlets Claim There is “no Adequate Justification” to Withhold Info
The group says they are seeking no information that could put national security at risk, they simply claim there is “no adequate justification” to continue to withhold the information.
So far, the FBI hasn’t released any information about the security firm(s) or individuals who helped them unlock the iPhone 5c used by Farook in the days leading up to the December 2015 massacre that took 16 lives, including those of Farook, and his wife Tashfeen Malik.
According to the legal team representing the news outlets in question, “[w]hile it is undisputed that the vendor developed the iPhone access tool, the government has identified no rational reason why knowing the vendor’s identity is linked in any way to the substance of the tool.”
The lawyers claim that sharing the information they seek is unlikely to reveal any sensitive details about the hacking tools used.
“Release of this information goes to the very heart of the Freedom of Information Act’s purpose, allowing the public to assess government activity… [associated with] a tool that can compromise the digital security of millions of Americans,” they added.
Apple was ordered to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone in question, but the Cupertino firm refused to comply with the order, kicking off a prolonged legal showdown which ended when the FBI found a firm willing to help them unlock the device.