Husband of San Bernardino Survivor Calls for Stronger Gun Laws, Not Weaker Privacy

"It was guns that killed innocent people, not technology,” the husband of a survivor of the massacre wrote to the judge whose order Apple is fighting.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department/Getty Images

As Apple fights a judge’s order to help the government hack an iPhone used by San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook, interested parties are weighing in with legal briefs and letters.

Perhaps the most powerful submission so far is a letter sent by Salihin Kondoker, whose wife is a survivor of the holiday party rampage that left 14 dead. She was shot three times.

But Kondoker isn’t mad at Apple for refusing to comply with the order.

“In the wake of this terrible attack, I believe strongly we need stronger gun laws. It was guns that killed innocent people, not technology,” he wrote.

He continued:

I believe privacy is important and Apple should stay firm in their decision. Neither I, nor my wife, want to raise our children in a world where privacy is the tradeoff for security. I believe this case will have a huge impact all over the world. You will have agencies coming from all over the world to get access to the software the FBI is asking Apple for. It will be abused all over to spy on innocent people. America should be proud of Apple. Proud that it is an American company and we should protect them not try to tear them down.

Reuters reported last month that some victims were planning to back the FBI.

Other parties filing letters and briefs include digital and civil rights groups, trade groups, cryptographers and technologists, and technology companies.

A collection of internet service companies that includes Twitter, DropBox, Kickstarter, CloudFlare, and Reddit warned that the government’s demand “would set a dangerous precedent, creating a world in which the government could simply force companies to create, design, and redesign their systems to allow law enforcement access to data, instead of requiring the government to use the measures, and meet the requirements, of legislatively enacted statutory schemes.”

Cryptographers, including Harvard’s Bruce Schneier, explained that the software Apple is being asked to develop could easily be used on other iPhones if stolen or demanded by a foreign government. “If that happens, the custom code could be used by criminals and governments to extract sensitive personal and business data from seized, lost, or stolen iPhones, or it could be reverse engineered, giving attackers a stepping stone on the path towards their goal of defeating Apple’s passcode security.”

David Kaye, United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, shared his concern “that the subject order implicates the security, and thus the freedom of expression, of unknown but likely vast numbers of people, those who rely on secure communications.”

“Deliberately compromised digital security would undermine human rights around the globe,” wrote attorneys representing Access Now, a digital rights group, and Wickr, a secure communications platform.

Top photo: Four weapons recovered by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department near the scene of the mass shooting in December 2015.


Join The Conversation