Apple has said it has got in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately after the Texas shooting incident offering its support to unlock the gunman’s iPhone to help speed up the investigation process.
However, while that can be seen as a positive development on part of the iPhone maker, FBI’s reluctance to get Apple’s help on this seems to have mucked things up a bit. The sleuths had 48-hours to use the shooter’s finger impression to unlock the device before the access code security feature becomes activated, The Verge reported. This essentially has made the iPhone inaccessible to the FBI unless the latter has some other means to break into the device.
All of this has led many to speculate if the FBI’s response is a calculated move to drum up support against the tech company’s increasing persistence in upholding user’s privacy. One of the investigator, Christopher Combs even vented his frustration to the media about how the adoption of advanced encryption technology on devices is hampering proper investigation.
Combs also said they are working hard to get into the said phone but did not confirm if they have responded to Apple offer for assistance on the matter. There is no confirmation either as to the iPhone model used by the shooter. A senior FBI official has also confirmed they have received offer of assistance from Apple.
The FBI believes the iPhone used by the Texas shooter could hold vital information about the gunman as well as his motive and operative. It is not known either what other methods or resources it might have to break into the device.
The last time the FBI was faced with a similar situation was during the San Bernardino terror attack case. Apple had then refused to comply with the FBI’s request to create a back door of sorts to break into the iPhone 5C used by the prime suspect Syed Farook.
The FBI had then managed to bypass the security of the iPhone with help from third party hacking groups that had also cost the bureau $1 million. It is not known if the FBI is attempting a similar strategy this time as well.
Also, with FBI refusing Apple’s assistance in dealing with a suspect’s gadget, it will be interesting to see if that is how the bureau’s relationship with Apple will be in future as well. FBI, it seems is yet to get over the bitter spat it got into Apple that had reached the courts as well over unlocking Syed Farook’s iPhone 5C.