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Quite a big deal is being made about Apple's refusal to decrypt an iPhone used in a terrorist attack. What is suspected to be on the device? If the crime has already been committed and the dead buried, of what use will be any information contained on the device?

Might the phone hold contact information for other potential terrorists? Methods of acquiring weapons in the United States? Links to jidahist forums? Is it reasonable to suggest that information on the device may help prevent further attacks?

I ask on this forum as the case revolves around InfoSec's very cornerstones: encryption, methods of brute forcing, and even vendor-supplied backdoors. Thus, this case has far-ranging implications for the field.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Deer Hunter, Neil Smithline, tim, TildalWave, Xander Feb 21 '16 at 1:08

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    This is a political issue. The Feds want to get a foot in the door aka a precedent, and expand their position against 'strong' encryption from there. The amount of hypocrisy surrounding this case makes me sad. – Deer Hunter Feb 20 '16 at 21:44
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    And yes, voting to close as opinion-based. If anybody knows the truth, putting it into an answer is against the law. All other stuff is pure speculation. – Deer Hunter Feb 20 '16 at 21:46
  • @DeerHunter: Thank you. If the issue is political then should I move this question to Politics.SE? – dotancohen Feb 20 '16 at 21:47
  • Not familiar with PSE, but strongly suspect reddit would be better. – Deer Hunter Feb 20 '16 at 21:50
  • One way or the other, this is not on topic for security. SE – Xander Feb 21 '16 at 1:09
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Short Answer: Evidence of a crime.

Just as in any other legal case, the FBI is looking to acquire evidence. As stated in your question - everything else is really speculation.

According the Edward Snowden, the FBI claims it is looking for "contacts with co-workers": https://twitter.com/snowden/status/700823383961792512

As others have said, by now this legal battle is mostly about establishing to what degree a company can be ordered to support a legal investigation.

  • Thank you. What might the FBI need more evidence for? A conviction for the two deceased perpetrators? – dotancohen Feb 20 '16 at 22:13
  • You always "need" all the evidence you can get. There is no reason to ignore certain evidence if you can obtain it. – Chris Feb 20 '16 at 22:16

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