Why These Major News Organizations Are Suing the FBI

Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Associated Press, USA Today‘s parent company Gannett (GCI), and Vice Media filed a lawsuit on Friday with the goal of forcing the FBI to disclose how and with whom it cracked the iPhone belonging to San Bernardino mass shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.

According to USA Today, the news organizations want to know more about the FBI’s acquisition and use of a third-party tool used to crack Farook’s encrypted Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5. The paper also posted the filing itself.

The fact that this tool enabled investigators to access the supposedly securely phone confirmed that “a serious undisclosed vulnerability existed (and likely still exists) in one of the most popular consumer products in the world,” according to the filing. Whether the FBI found any useful information on the phone is still subject to debate and not the point in this case.

Last March, Justice Department investigators were able to unlock the iPhone after Apple refused to help break the encryption. The FBI turned to an undisclosed third-party and reportedly paid just under $1 million for the technology, which, according to a Reuters report in April, it will be able to reuse.

Now the concern is that whoever still has access to this tool poses a continued security risk. The news organizations argue more transparency is needed about the third party and its own security practices.

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On December 2, 2015, Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, shot and killed 14 people, wounding 22 others in San Bernardino, Calif. Investigators subsequently spent months trying to break into Farook’s iPhone. The federal government and Apple, which refused to help break its own encryption, battled it out in court for months before this third-party option surfaced.

The fallout between Apple and the FBI sparked debate over the limits of government—and corporate power—in an era in which the threat of terrorist violence seems to loom over everything.

For more on the FBI and the iPhone watch:

The news groups had already filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for this information, which was denied. Fortune reached out to the FBI for comment and will update this report as needed.

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