Apple's ongoing battle with the federal government over its refusal to unblock a dead terrorist's iPhone is getting more intense, with Apple expected to file a legal motion this week. Apple is also facing mounting pressure from victims of the attack and surviving family members of people killed in the attack to give in to the government's demands.
At stake is your privacy. The controversy began tragically in December, when terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife killed 14 people and injured 22 others in San Bernardino, California.
Their motives and the financial backers of the ISIS-type attack remain largely a mystery. Why? First, Farook and his wife were killed shortly after their deadly rampage.
Another problem is Farook's iPhone, which may contain vital evidence that could prevent another attack. It's encrypted, which is an incredibly secure way to protect your devices. Your information is scrambled, so it's meaningless even if someone figures out your password to get in.
For weeks, the FBI and now the Justice Department have been demanding that Apple unblock the phone. Note: The government isn't asking Apple to unlock its encryption. Rather, they want Apple to disable a feature in its password protections where a phone's contents are wiped out if someone tries too many times to get in with incorrect passwords.
"The San Bernardino litigation isn't about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message," FBI Director James Comey said in an official statement on Sunday. "It is about the victims and justice.
"Fourteen people were slaughtered and many more had their lives and bodies ruined. We owe them a thorough and professional investigation under the law. That's what this is. The American people should expect nothing less from the FBI."
Now, some victims and victims' families have hired a lawyer to file a legal motion in support of the FBI and Justice Department. That amicus brief is expected to be filed in March.
In the meantime, Apple is expected to take legal action in the case later this week (Apple CEO Tim Cook pictured above). Keep reading Happening Now for updates on the case of Apple versus the U.S. government.