Following the events that unfolded at San Bernardino last December, the FBI and Apple faced off in the courtroom to determine whether or not the company would be ordered to unlock a phone belonging to one of the shooters.
Upon the initial request, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the actions were “an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers.”Ultimately the FBI withdraw the request that Apple unlock the phone after locating and purchasing a third-party method.
However, the FBI needs Apple’s help once again.
In September, Somalian refugee Dahir Adan unleashed an attack on the St. Cloud Mall in Minnesota. Wielding two knives, Adan stabbed ten people and terrorized many others. Now, left with yet another locked iPhone, the FBI is determined to uncover more details about the incident and Adan’s personal life. And, as seen with San Bernardino, the phone could hold information that could verify whether or not the attack was orchestrated by militant group ISIS.
At a press conference in Minnesota, Special Agent Rich Thorton stated, “Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked. We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.”
The model of iPhone and its operating system are unknown, but both are key components in unlocking its information.
This could prove difficult due to the iOS 8 being encrypted in such a way that even Apple struggles to decrypt certain products, even when provided with a warrant.
Though either party has yet to make a statement concerning a potential lawsuit, one major concern of the previous case (and potential cases to come?) is user privacy. Bureau director James Comey addressed this concern and assured the public that his agency’s intrusive demand was about one terrorist’s phone, not repeated access to iPhone owners’ secrets.