Apple said the iPhone maker contacted the FBI to help glean data from a mobile device belonging to late Texas church shooter Devin Kelley "immediately" after learning that authorities couldn't access its contents, but claimed it only became aware of the problem when an investigator complained publicly roughly 48 hours following Sunday's massacre. However, this week's stories highlight how the Bureau fails to follow through first steps of the legal process, having both ignoring the technicalities involved in the unlocking process and not even asking the relevant company for help.
Combs was telegraphing a longstanding frustration of the FBI, which claims encryption has stymied investigations of everything from sex crimes against children to drug cases, even if they obtain a warrant for the information.
As a candidate, Donald Trump called on Americans to boycott Apple unless it helped the FBI hack into the phone, but he hasn't been as vocal as president.
The FBI's San Antonio office sent Kelley's encrypted phone to the bureau's crime lab in Quantico, Virginia, earlier this week after agents were unable to unlock it, Christopher Combs, the special agent in charge of the FBI's office in San Antonio, Texas, said Tuesday.
The FBI's refusal to identify the manufacturer of the phone stands in contrast to its public feud with Apple in the aftermath of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting in 2015 that left 14 people dead. Apple's unwillingness to help the FBI open that iPhone - fearing that it could compromise other iPhones' security - was building to become a major courtroom fight, until the FBI was able to crack the iPhone with a third-party tool in March. When the FBI took Apple to court in February 2016 to force it to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's phone, investigators believed the device held clues about whom the couple communicated with and where they may have traveled.
'We offered assistance and said we would expedite our response to any legal process they send us'. "Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to get into that phone".
A spokesperson for the FBI did not immediately return a request for comment outside of business hours.
I think it's great that there's some wriggle room with Apple on this issue - even if it touches on privacy.
On Wednesday, November 8, Apple responded to the FBI's criticism stating that it actually reached out to assist the FBI shortly after Tuesday's press conference.
Cook argued in a letter to customers that creating software for a back door is far "too dangerous to create", and extremely counterproductive since it would inevitably allow bad actors access to people's data. The Washington Post identified the phone as an iPhone. Authorities in Texas say the church shooting was motivated by the gunman's family troubles, rather than terrorism, and investigators have not said whether they are seeking possible co-conspirators. Some end-to-end encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal use stronger security that locks up data with private keys, and which the companies can't unlock themselves. It would have allowed them to unlock the device without knowing the passcode.
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