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Apple versus the FBI: how could it impact you?

Posted at 8:13 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 23:54:02-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- As the battle between Apple and the FBI continues, experts say this is the kind of precedent-setting case that could impact everyone. 
"If you're in a divorce case, or some other more minor offense," said Bryan Heidorn with the University of Arizona. "And you're in trouble enough, now the prosecutor will know there's technology they can get from Apple to open your phone."
Heidorn is the director of the School of Information at the U of A. He says the FBI wants Apple to create software that will allow them to use an infinite amount of passwords to get information from the phone of Syed Farook. Police believe Farook and his wife are behind the San Bernardino shootings last year, killing 14 people.
Apple worries if that software is created it could get into the wrong hands. Hackers may be able to crack the code and access your private information, Heidorn said. He says the FBI doesn't have the technology to get into Farook's phone without the password.
"They can't get everything that was happening on that phone," Heidorn said. "So some of the contact information, they don't know what kind of applications they have been running."
While some worry our privacy may be threatened, the FBI argues this is a matter of national security and it's only about one phone. Some of the victims families of the San Bernardino shootings say they will file a legal brief in support of the FBI.
"This is a very emotional case for the victims in this case," said former federal prosecutor Stephen Larson. "The pain is still very palpable. It is critical that they get this information that they get these answers."
This week Apple formally challenged a court order from the FBI. The case could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A panel of experts will discuss the case at the U of A campus next week. At 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 3rd the community is welcome to ask the panelists questions.
The discussion is hosted by the Center for Digital Society and Data Studies, and will be in room 201 of the Environment and Natural Resources Building.