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Apple posts letter from San Bernardino survivor's husband as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, more offer support

As part of Apple's legal battle with the FBI, the company on Thursday posted to its website a letter in support written by Salihin Kondoker, husband of San Bernardino shooting survivor Anies Kondoker. Separately, more big tech companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft offered support in a joint amicus brief.




A report on Monday first outlined Kondoker's document in support of Apple's position on the ongoing encryption debate. The letter to the court is now up for perusal (PDF link) on Apple's website.

Like San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, Kondoker's wife Anies was also assigned an iPhone 5c by the San Bernardino County Health Department. In the letter, Salihin said Anies never used her work-issued iPhone for private correspondence, suggesting Farook did much the same manner.

"San Bernardino is one of the largest Counties in the country," Salihin writes. "They can track the phone on GPS in case they needed to determine where people were. Second, both the iCloud account and carrier account were controlled by the county so they could track any communications. This was common knowledge among my wife and other employees. Why then would someone store vital contacts related to an attack on a phone they knew the county had access to? They destroyed their personal phones after the attack. And I believe they did that for a reason."

Farook's iPhone 5c was recovered by law enforcement agents and now sits at the center of a contentious court battle between the FBI and Apple. Backed by the Department of Justice, the FBI sought and was subsequently granted an order compelling Apple's assistance to unlock the subject device.



Tech companies, security experts and rights advocacy groups have also taken Apple's side, as evidenced in multiple amicus briefs entered into record earlier today. Adding to the list of public entreaties in favor of Apple's stance is a joint filing made on behalf of Amazon, Box, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nest, Pinterest, Slack, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Yahoo.

The 15 tech giants say that while they feel no sympathy for the perpetrators of last year's terror attack, the companies cannot stand idly by as the government asserts a sweeping judicial instrument — the All Writs Act — to "commandeer" Apple engineers in efforts to break its own encryption protocol, reports Re/code.

"The government is not just asking companies to do what they do in the normal course of business," the filing reads. "The government is asking companies to change how they do business."

For its part, the FBI argues that there could be actionable information to be gleaned from Farook's iPhone, adding that its motion to compel Apple's assistance is limited to a single device and won't create precedent for future data requests. Law enforcement groups and other interested parties, including the families of six victims, have filed documents in support of the government.

Apple lawyers are due to face off against Justice Department attorneys over the court order to compel in a hearing scheduled for March 22.