Sierra Clayborn was killed in the San Bernardino shootings by ISIS sympathizers, but now her stepdad is backing Apple in its refusal to hack into the iPhone of one of the terrorist attackers.
Cary Eatmon, 56, has come out in support of the tech giant in its battle with the FBI, saying that if they bow to the government’s demand they will be giving into fear and that’s not what his stepdaughter would have wanted.
In a statement released exclusively to EBONY.com, the video producer says: “I believe that the FBI should do whatever it can in its legal power to find out what happened in the San Bernardino attack to help prevent another massacre.
"However, I do have concerns regarding our privacy. Sierra would not have wanted us to make decisions based upon fear. Fear is an ally of the terrorist. If we chip away at our liberties because of fear, the terrorists win. The terrorists must never win.”
Clayborn, 27, an environmental health specialist, was at the holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif. on December 2, when fellow employee Syed Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, shot office workers killing 14 and injuring 22. The two perpetrators were killed later in a shootout with police.
Eatmon says the incident “has been devastating to our family and the pain endures.” But, while he says he wants the FBI to thoroughly investigate the terrorist attack, not at the cost of personal freedom.
He says: “We must stand strong and protect all constitutional guarantees, including fear based searches that help erode our right to privacy. Yielding to fear dishonors the memory of our loved ones, including my Sierra.”
Last week a federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock Farook’s phone.
While FBI Director James Comey argues the assistance they require is only limited to this one case and this one phone, the tech firm’s CEO Tim Cook told ABC News that fulfilling this request sets a precedent that is “bad for America.”
Eatmon seems to agree. He tells EBONY.com: “Once you’ve let the cat out of the bag you cannot guarantee what’s out there.
“We’re about to go into an election and regime change. You never know what other people have in mind.
“Because of all the circumstances that have been going on here in America I feel there’s room for caution.”
He also adds: “I support Apple to the degree that I don’t want the government to have a way to infringe on our privacy rights, because I have an issue with that.
“But I am definitely for the government doing any and everything they can in their power to come to the matter of why and how all of that was able to happen in the first place…That’s an awkward position to be in because I’m personally affected.”
Eatmon – who is estranged from Clayborn’s mother Wendy Eatmon with whom he has a 19-year-old son – raised Sierra from the age of two until she went off to college.
Asked what he thinks his stepdaughter would have to say on Apple’s position, he says: “She was a really intelligent person. She was a thinker.
“She would think problems out. I just thought she would maintain that same position on addressing anything.”