FBI Reportedly Asks Apple to Help Unlock Passcode-Protected iPhones Used by Mass Shooter in Florida
In a letter sent late Monday to Apple's general counsel Katherine Adams, the FBI has asked Apple to help unlock two iPhones that investigators believe were owned by Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, who carried out a mass shooting at a Naval Air Station in Florida last month, according to NBC News.
The report claims the iPhones are passcode protected, and one of them appears to be damaged by gunfire. In a statement to NBC News, Apple said it has already provided all of the data in its possession to the FBI:
We have the greatest respect for law enforcement and have always worked cooperatively to help in their investigations. When the FBI requested information from us relating to this case a month ago, we gave them all of the data in our possession and we will continue to support them with the data we have available.
Apple faced a similar situation in 2016, when a U.S. federal judge ordered the company to help the FBI unlock an iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino, California. Apple opposed the order, noting that it would set a "dangerous precedent" with security risks.
Apple's dispute with the FBI ended in just weeks after the U.S. government found an alternate way to access the data on the iPhone and withdrew the lawsuit.
Based on its statement, it appears that Apple will continue to take a hard line on refusing to unlock iPhones for the FBI.
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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Israeli firm Cellebrite assisted the FBI with unlocking the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, but Cellebrite has previously denied this claim.