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FBI iPhone case ‘bad for America’: Apple CEO

Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended his company's decision to refuse an FBI demand to help crack an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. To do so would be "bad for America," said Cook. "This is not about this phone," Apple chief Tim Cook said during an interview on US broadcaster ABC News on Wednesday. "This is about the future. It is a precedent that should not be done in this country, or in any country." The FBI wants Apple's help hacking the iPhone of US citizen Syed Rizwan Farook. Along with his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik, Farook gunned down 14 people and wounded 22 others at the San Bernardino county health department in December, an attack believed to have been inspired by the so-called "Islamic State." While the San Bernardino case is Apple's most high-profile legal fight with the US government, the company is battling the government over unlocking devices in at least 10 cases. When questioned about how he felt about Apple taking the stand with the chance that information on Farook's iPhone might prevent another terrorist attack, Cook admitted that "some things are hard and some things are right. And some things are both. This is one of those things." 'Equivalent of cancer' Cook expressed sympathy for families of the shooting victims, and said that Apple had provided engineers and technical advice to authorities investigating the case. However, he said authorities were now asking the company "to write a piece of software that we view as sort of the equivalent of cancer." In a separate interview on Wednesday, CIA director John Brennan said that he supported the FBI's side in the high-profile battle. Speaking with National Public Radio, Brennan said the public would never accept criminals or terrorists having exclusive access to a physical storage box, and asked why an encrypted phone should be treated any differently.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended his company’s decision to refuse an FBI demand to help crack an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. To do so would be “bad for America,” said Cook. “This is not about this phone,” Apple chief Tim Cook said during an interview on US broadcaster ABC News on Wednesday. “This ... Read More »

Facebook, Google and Twitter back Apple in encryption fight with FBI

Tech giants, including Facebook, have said Apple was right to refuse a court ruling to help the FBI break into the iPhone of a California shooter. Detectives think the shooter's phone could hold clues to the attack. "We will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems," a Facebook representative was cited by Reuters as saying on Thursday. "These demands would create a chilly precedent and obstruct companies' efforts to secure their products," the spokesperson added. The social media giant's public support of Apple follows similar backing by the likes of Google, Twitter and WhatsApp against a court order to help crack the encryption on an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook. On December 2, Farook and his wife killed 14 people in an attack at an office Christmas party, which officials say was inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) militant group. Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said the case "could be a troubling precedent" and warned that "forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users' privacy." FBI adamant But two of New York's top law enforcement officers accused Apple of being irresponsible by not allowing investigators to hack into the phone. The FBI wants the tech giant to disable a feature that wipes the phone's data after 10 failed password entries. Police intend to use the software to try all password possibilities until it finds the right one. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the case was "the most visible example of how Silicon Valley's decisions are thwarting criminal investigations and impeding public safety." Vance's office currently holds 175 seized iPhones that remain inaccessible despite court orders allowing prosecutors to search the devices. Apple has until Tuesday to file a protest to the decision by a magistrate in California. The company's chief executive Tim Cook said the demand is dangerous and an overreach of government power. Analysts said Apple is likely to seek to invoke free speech protection measures as one of its key legal arguments to block the order. The company's defiance has led to a wide variety of supporting and opposing comments on social media, with some people calling for users to #boycottapple.

Tech giants, including Facebook, have said Apple was right to refuse a court ruling to help the FBI break into the iPhone of a California shooter. Detectives think the shooter’s phone could hold clues to the attack. “We will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems,” a Facebook representative was cited by ... Read More »

Conspiracy charge in US for friend of San Bernardino shooter

A friend of Syed Farook has been charged over supplying weapons to the San Bernardino gunman and his wife. The two apparently plotted other attacks together which were not carried out. A California man was arrested on Thursday on suspicions he supplied guns to the married couple who killed 14 people in a shooting rampage in San Bernardino , California, on December 2. Enrique Marquez, 24, was once the neighbor of gunman Syed Farook, and has been charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Court documents show that Marquez had also planned other mass atrocities with Farook, such as an attack on a local college and a major highway, but neither was ever carried out. Marquez purchased two AR-15 assault rifles after the pair worried Farook's Middle Eastern appearance would make gun sellers suspicious. He also purchased material to make pipe bombs, which were originally planned for the college attack that never materialized. Marquez was also charged with immigration fraud, as authorities alleged he had entered into a "sham marriage" to the sister of Farook's brother's wife. "Mr Marquez conspired with Mr Farook to commit vicious attacks," said US State Attorney Eileen Decker. "Even though these plans were not carried out, Mr Marquez's criminal conduct deeply affected San Bernardino County, Southern California and the entire United States when the guns purchased by Marquez were used to kill 14 innocent people and wound many others." Decker added that there was as of yet no evidence that Marquez knew of the December 2 attacks in which Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik massacred 14 people at a holiday party in an "Islamic State"(IS)-inspired attack. The FBI said Marquez and Farook were engaged in martyrdom discussions online, and both became supporters of IS through the Internet.

A friend of Syed Farook has been charged over supplying weapons to the San Bernardino gunman and his wife. The two apparently plotted other attacks together which were not carried out. A California man was arrested on Thursday on suspicions he supplied guns to the married couple who killed 14 people in a shooting rampage in San Bernardino , California, ... Read More »

Multiple assailants massacre employees at California Christmas party

At least 14 people have been killed in a gun attack at a holiday party in southern California. It's the country's worst gun massacre since 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut in 2012. Authorities say at least two heavily armed people opened fire on employees having a Christmas party in the city of San Bernardino, California, early Wednesday. At least 14 people were killed and 17 wounded, two critically. Witnesses described the assailants as bursting into the holiday banquet held inside a rented room at the Inland Regional Center. Guests ran for cover under a hail of gunfire. A man and a woman suspected of carrying out the attack were killed in a shootout with police about two miles (three kilometers) away in the hours that followed, police said. A third suspect was arrested as he ran away, but it's not clear whether he was involved in the killings. Police have not said how many people were involved. US media name dead suspect A law enforcement official has identified Syed Farook as one of the gunmen. The official, who was briefed on the case, was not authorized to speak to the media about the ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. "I know one of the big questions that will come up repeatedly is, 'Is this terrorism?'" David Bowdich, the FBI assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles field office, told reporters. "And I am still not willing to say that we know that for sure." Few details are known about Farook, a US citizen. Public records list him as an employee with the county's health department. Staff members from the county agency had gathered inside the conference hall for their annual holiday party. The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the killings and said a relative of one of the suspects would be addressing an evening news conference. Worst since Sandy Hook The Wednesday shooting was the worst massacre since a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook elementary school in the US state of Connecticut in 2012. There has been an uptick in gun violence in the United States, with a polarizing debate between those advocating stronger controls on firearms, and staunch gun-rights advocates who argue that the right to bear firearms is enshrined in the US constitution. US President Barack Obama says he favors "common sense" gun control and has made repeated calls for Congress to act to restrict access to firearms by criminals and the mentally ill. "The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world," Obama told CBS News. "There are some steps we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don't happen as frequently." Possible dispute at party "The Los Angeles Times" newspaper, citing senior federal official, reported that investigators believe one of the shooters left the party after getting into an argument and returned with one or two armed companions and began killing revelers. "We don't know what the motive is at this point," San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said. "The information we have is that they came prepared to do what they did as if they were on a mission." He said the investigation led police to a house in the neighboring city of Redlands. A black SUV was seen leaving and police gave chase when the firefight ensued. Both Farook and the unidentified woman were wearing tactical-style clothing that was "loaded with magazines for a gunfight," Meredith Davis, a spokeswoman with the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) told KCAL9 television. She said that the suspects also threw a thick-gauge copper pipe that resembled a pipe bomb out of the SUV, but it was found to be harmless. San Bernardino is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Los Angeles in southern California.

At least 14 people have been killed in a gun attack at a holiday party in southern California. It’s the country’s worst gun massacre since 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut in 2012. Authorities say at least two heavily armed people opened fire on employees having a Christmas party in the city of San Bernardino, ... Read More »

‘At least 14 killed’ in California shooting

US officials have said at least 14 people have been killed by assailants in a shooting at a social services center in San Bernardino, California. At least two suspects have been killed by police. The shooting took place in a facility at the social services center around 11 a.m. local time (1900 UTC) on Wednesday, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) east of Los Angeles. Police confirmed that at least 14 people had died at the scene at the Inland Regional Center, a provider of social services under contract by the state. At least 17 further people have been reported injured. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it's possible that the shooting would be considered "terrorism." Lavinia Johnson, executive director of the facility, told CNN the suspects opened fire inside a conference building in the complex where a holiday party was being held for staff. Officers tracked a dark-colored SUV that matched the description given by witnesses to the assailants' escape about two miles (3 kilometers) away. A shootout ensued killing two suspects - a man and a woman - San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said. An officer was injured in the confrontation. The Los Angeles Times newspaper and NBC-TV broadcaster have identified the man as Syed Farook, which public records list as a county employee in the health department. Unnamed law enforcement officials said Farook was a US citizen. A third suspect was seen running near the police gunbattle is now in custody but authorities are not certain the person was involved in the killings, the chief added. Authorities have yet to declare a motive in the shooting, but there have been reports of a connection to an individual in attendance in the conference room, and the shooters reportedly wore "assault-style clothing." "We have no information at this point that this is terrorist-related, in the traditional sense that people may be thinking," Burguan said earlier. "Obviously, at minimum, we have a domestic-type terrorist-type situation that occurred here." Federal authorities said a bomb squad had also been dispatched to "immobilize what's believed to be explosive device" and that the FBI was investigating. Meanwhile, officers are serving a search warrant on a home in the nearby city of Redlands and conducting door-to-door searches of the area. The incident marks the deadliest US gun violence since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, in which 27 people, including the gunman, were killed. President calls for action against gun violence US President Barack Obama has called for a bipartisan effort to address the issue of mass shootings. "We don't yet know what the motives of the shooters are, but what we do know is there are steps we can take to make Americans safer and that we should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these rare as opposed to normal," he said. California Gov. Jerry Brown called the shooting a brutal attack and said in a statement that "Californiawill spare no effort in bringing these killers to justice." The shooting came just days after a lone gunman killed three people during a standoff at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

US officials have said at least 14 people have been killed by assailants in a shooting at a social services center in San Bernardino, California. At least two suspects have been killed by police. The shooting took place in a facility at the social services center around 11 a.m. local time (1900 UTC) on Wednesday, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) ... Read More »

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