FBI pushed to reveal source of iPhone hack

Associated Press, Vice Media and Gannett want US government to disclose how much it paid for the tech

The Associated Press, Vice Media and Gannett, the parent company of USA Today, are prssuring the FBI to disclose how much it paid developers for the hacking technology used to break into the locked iPhone of the San Bernardino gunman.

The three news organisations explained they are not looking to find out information that could jeopardise the investigation, or put national security at risk, but they think it's the public's right to know how much public money was spent on the case and how it managed to unlock the iPhone owned by killer Syed Rizwan Farook.

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Its rumoured the FBI paid at least $1.3m (1.05m) to hack into the phone according to the BBC. This information was suggested by FBI director James Comey, who once said the organisation had paid more than he would earn in seven years for the tool.

"While it is undisputed that the vendor developed the iPhone access tool, the government has identified no rational reason why knowing the vendor's identity is linked in any way to the substance of the tool, much less how such knowledge would reveal any information about the tool's application," lawyers representing the Associated Press, Vice Media and Gannett said.

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"Release of this information goes to the very heart of the Freedom of Information Act's purpose, allowing the public to assess government activity - here, the decision to pay public funds to an outside entity in possession of a tool that can compromise the digital security of millions of Americans."

A court told the FBI it had the go-ahead to hack into Farook's phone a year ago, after Apple refused to help authorities access the data on the device.

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