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The FBI Is Seeking Access To The Sutherland Springs Shooter's iPhone


When Apple's CEO Tim Cook heard the FBI's press conference that revealed that the Shooter Devin Kelly, who gunned down 26 innocent lives in a Church last Sunday, was the owner of an iPhone that they were unable to get into for information, he got his team to reach out to the FBI immediately to offer assistance.

According to the report, iPhones that require a fingerprint to be unlocked request the password after 48 hours.

Eventually, in September 2016, the Department of Justice announced that it had managed to hack into the phone and withdrew a suit it had placed against the company.

Kelley killed 26 people and injured 20 others at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday before turning the gun on himself.

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For instance, if the iPhone used Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensing system, which is available in newer phone models, agents could have tried placing the dead gunman's finger on the phone to unlock it. But that could only have worked in the 48 hours since the last time the phone was locked.

Business Insider added that "The implication is that had law enforcement contacted Apple sooner, it would have received tips and guidance that could have helped it preserve access to the data on Kelley's phone. We offered assistance and said we would expedite our response to any legal process they send us", an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.

Rosenstein said "strong encryption is good", but he criticized technology companies for building devices and applications that make it difficult for law enforcement authorities even with a warrant to access encrypted data.

"I can assure you that we're working very hard to get into the phone, and that will continue until we find an answer", he said. 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.

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The showdown ended after the FBI was able to open the device with the use of an unnamed third party. "We offer training to thousands of agents so they understand our devices and how they can quickly request information from Apple", the statement said. Experts at the FBI's lab in Quantico, Va. are working on finding other means to obtain the smartphone's data, like a synced computer or cloud storage. "It impacts investigations across the board - narcotics, human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime and child exploitation".

Apple and other tech companies have been steadily increasing their use of encryption and other safeguards, following recent hacking attacks and earlier government-surveillance revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

"We work with law enforcement every day".

The friction between these two powerful American institutions may lead to another escalation between over the issue of encryption in smartphones.

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