In December 2015, Islamic extremists committed a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and seriously injuring another 22. The couple later died in a gunfight with police.
In 2016, an iPhone belonging to one of the terrorists took center stage because it used Apple’s built-in security tools to protect the device from unauthorized access. The FBI wanted Apple to create special software to allow investigators to get into the phone. Apple refused, arguing the FBI wanted the company to, in effect, “custom-build malware” to undermine the company’s own security features.
The FBI eventually dropped its request to Apple after a security firm was able to help investigatorsaccess data on the phone. The case’s legacy lives on as lawmakers consider what kind of help companies with encryption-capable products should provide to law enforcement.