Breaking News Emails
As the battle over the FBI's request to access a locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, one family directly impacted by the shooting said they're supporting Apple in the controversial case.
"I support Apple and the decision they have made," wrote Salihin Kondoker in a letter of support to U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym on Monday.
His wife Anies was shot three times in the December 2 attack in San Bernardino, but survived the attack.
"When I first learned Apple was opposing the order, I was frustrated that it would be yet another roadblock. But as I read more about their case, I have come to understand their fight is for something much bigger than one phone," Kondoker wrote in the letter he shared with NBC News.
In his letter, Kondoker recounts his wife's narrow escape from the shooting, which took place as a county health department's holiday party was underway. Anies is an environmental health specialist for the county, and had gone to the restroom when the attack began. She left her handbag on her chair.
"About six weeks later, we were able to retrieve her handbag from FBI [sic] which was shattered by bullets on that day," Kondoker wrote in his letter. "There isn't a day that goes by I don't think about what could have happened had she actually been sitting in that chair."
Kondoker says his wife's path to recovery has been long, and that their family has many questions about why the attack happened. But Kondoker, who works in Internet technology himself, believes Apple should "stay firm in their decision" not to create software that would allow the FBI to unlock the phone.
"It was guns that killed innocent people, not technology," Kondoker wrote in his letter, arguing for stricter gun laws.
"Neither I, nor my wife, want to raise our children in a world where privacy is the trade off for security," he wrote, referring to the couple's three children.
The phone in question is an iPhone 5C that was used by massacre shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, and was owned by his employer. In his letter, Kondoker expresses doubt that the shooter would have kept vital information on his company phone, noting, "My wife also had an iPhone issued by the county and she did not use it for any personal communication."
In a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey defended his agency's request for a tool that would disable some of the iPhone's safety features that lock or erase the phone after repeated attempts to enter a passcode.
"There's already a door on that iPhone," said Comey in the hearing. "Essentially we're asking Apple to take the vicious guard dog away, let us try to pick the lock."
Lawmakers pushed back, questioning whether the technique could be used again, possibly by malicious actors.
"When this tool is created, the fear obviously is that it might be used by others," said Rep. Ted Deutch. "There are many who will try to get their hands on it and will then put at risk our information on our devices. And how do you balance it?"
Comey said that is a decision that the judge will have to make. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California will hear from both parties at a hearing on March 22.