From paradise to scandal!

Cover- paradise to scandal

The San Bernardino attack happened in December 2015 when a couple of terrorists decided to shoot 14 innocent people, to be themselves later shot dead by the police force. One of the shooters, namely Syed Rizwan Farook had an iPhone 5c which was registered as a prosecution exhibit by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This is how the retrieved iPhone triggered the whole scandal.

This month has been hectic for the binary options industry as many scandals involving key companies surged from everywhere. On the bench of shame there is: Facebook’s Brazil director, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the German car maker company Volkswagen. However, it seemed that the most blazing scandal is the one involving the FBI and Apple Inc. You will find below the timeline of all the important events which happened from the moment the attack was perpetrated up till now.

2nd December 2015

02 Dec 2015

This date is to be remembered as it is the day, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire on a group of people and killed 14 persons while they wounded 22. After some hours, the couple was killed during a gunfight with the local police force. Interestingly both of them had destroyed their personal phones before executing their plan, yet the professional iPhone 5c of Syed was recovered and registered as a prosecution exhibit.

9th February 2016

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) stated that due to an advanced security feature, it was unable to break into the iPhone 5C found. Therefore, the organisation made an official demand to Apple to develop a new version of IOS which would help them to disable some of the security measures in the phone. This is how this famous case started. The American multinational refused as one of its policy states that the company will never engage in any action which will aim to weaken the security barriers of its products. The FBI, then decided to apply to a federal judge in order to have a court order which would force Apple to provide the software.

16th February 2016

The U.S Department of Justice issued an order forcing Apple to give assistance to the FBI by developing a software which would help to unlock the iPhone recovered during the San Bernardino attack. The American multinational was given 2 week to respond to the court mandate.

17th February 2016


Apple Inc responded to the court order by publishing a public letter addressed to its customers. The CEO of Apple, Mr Tim Cook stated that the order received was incomprehensible and that he would in no way abide as this order was jeopardizing years of security and trust built with its iPhone users. Besides, Apple has always strived for high technology security measures and protocols, all put in place to guarantee to its users the privacy they deserve while buying a smartphone. Developing a backdoor to an iPhone is unimaginable for the company and also, it can lead to precedent for future cases.

18th February 2016

A massive response were noticed on Twitter social media platform. The opinions registered were mixed as some users tweeted #thankyouapple and other on the other side, tweeted #boycottapple.

21th February 2016

James Comey, the director of the FBI responded to the statements of Apple by publishing an article on the national security legal blog Lawfare. He wrote that this mandate was not about creating a precedent, but was about seeking justice for the bereaved families and the victims.

22th February 2016

Following the article published by James Comey, Apple made an official demand for the creation of a governmental commission or experts to go in an in depth discussion of the implications this order could possibly have on free speech rights. Furthermore, some victims of the attack decided to file a legal brief against Apple to further support the demand of the U.S government.

24th February 2016

In response to all these personal attack, Apple decided that it would increase its security barriers in order to make it even harder for the government to break into an iPhone. Besides, the engineers of the company already started to work on the project. In the meantime, other giant technology companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon among others decided to join Apple’s cause to protect the privacy of customers.

26th February 2016

Apple filed its first legal brief in court against FBI on this date. The multinational presented several arguments such as:

  • Such a request literally violate the free speech rights.
  • The Congress never accepted to grant the government such powers.
  • This order also violates Apple's First Amendment rights against compelled speech.
  • Developing a software to break the security of an iPhone will threaten the safety of all its users around the world and can also lead to cybercrimes.
  • It could create a precedent for government’s intrusion in the life of citizens.

March 2016

The case of Apple and FBI seems to be endless and known many upheavals throughout March.The director of the FBI admitted that the iPhone found at San Bernardino was only one of the several iPhones the security agency would like Apple to unlock. Following this revelation, the case was brought before a congressional panel. During the whole month, many different arguments were presented. However a final decision has not been taken yet and Apple is determined to stick to its categorical refusal.

Will there be a happy ending?


The fight between Apple and the U.S government have been going on for more than one month. The case even turned into a public fight as both parties had valuable arguments to respond to each other. March is nearly over and any decisions have been taken yet. In the meantime, Apple Inc even released a new iPhone SE. Will this privacy fight impact on the sales of the brand new iPhone? Only time will be able to answer this question. Besides, the FBI recently stated that finally it might not require the help of Apple to grab the information it has looked forward since the beginning of the year. To be continued…

Priscilla Camryn By: Priscilla Camryn