Earlier this year, Apple clashed with the FBI after refusing to unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook. Now, the FBI has run into a similar situation, which could see the agency clash with the Cupertino company once again.
At a press conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota on Friday, FBI special agent Rich Thorton revealed the agency is in possession of Dahir Adan’s iPhone and is seeking a way to unlock it.
Adan stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall in the name of ISIS before he was shot and killed by police. Because his iPhone is locked with a passcode, the FBI is unable to search the device’s contents for relevant information.
According to Thorton, the FBI is currently assessing its legal and technical options as it works toward gaining access to the device.
This past spring, a Court Order was issued to Apple to unlock the iPhone 5c of the San Bernardino shooter, but Apple still refused. Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to the order by saying the implications of creating brute force software were “chilling.” Here’s a part of Cook’s letter that discusses why Apple was holding firm in its decision not to unlock the device:
If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data.
The Justice Department called Apple’s refusal to comply a marketing stunt.
If the FBI is unable to force its way into Adan’s iPhone, the agency could potentially seek another legal battle with Apple. It’s unclear if the FBI has been in contact with Apple but it’s very likely the battle over privacy and encryption is far from over.