On December 2, 2015 violent radical extremists shot and killed 14 innocent people and wounded 22 others in a terror attack in San Bernardino.  During the police investigation, an Apple iPhone5c was recovered and determined to have been used by the terrorists.  Obviously, the contents of the phone would be extremely important to law enforcement.  When the FBI approached Apple seeking their assistance with the Apple installed encryption, Apple refused to cooperate.

Subsequently, the FBI filed suit asking the court to order Apple to assist them. While the suit was pending, the FBI, using professional hackers, were able to break the encryption and enter the phone. Once the FBI was able to enter the phone, the government dropped the suit.  Last week FBI Director James Comey stated that the FBI was considering whether or not to turn information over to Apple on how the hacker was able to hack the phone.


Does the FBI have any obligation to turn over information on how the phone was hacked? Since Apple refused to assist the FBI in their investigation, why would the FBI even consider volunteering the information to Apple? Surely, it is only a matter of time before the FBI needs to enter the next generation iPhone; based on past behavior, in all likelihood, Apple will again refuse to cooperate.

Apple’s argument has been privacy while the FBI has argued security. When should privacy trump national security. What do you think?


Joe Blaettler is the owner of East Coast Private Investigations of New Jersey. ECPINJ is a fully licensed and bonded private investigations firm operating out of Morris County, New Jersey and serving northern New Jersey. Joe is also a recognized police policy expert and has rendered numerous expert reports in both superior and federal court. For more info about Joe or ECPINJ visit our web-site at