Wed, 19 Sep 2018

Apple says it offered FBI help to unlock Texas shooter’s pho

By Sheetal Sukhija, Southeast Asia News
10 Nov 2017, 03:11 GMT+10

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - Technology giant Apple, which has previously been criticized for not helping in critical law enforcement investigations, has now stated that it reached out to the FBI to offer help with the Texas shooter’s phone.

In a statement released to the media, Apple reportedly said it "immediately reached out to the FBI after learning from their press conference on Tuesday that investigators were trying to access a mobile phone."

According to reports, the FBI did not ask for its assistance at all.

During a press conference, FBI special agent Christopher Combs had reportedly complained about how the agency couldn't get into the Texas shooter's phone. 

Apple is said to have offered its assistance and even promised to "expedite [its] response to any legal process." It added that it "work[s] with law enforcement every day" and "offer[s] training to thousands of agents so they understand [its] devices and how they can quickly request information from Apple.”

The company said that the FBI has yet to ask for help accessing the phone. 

A report previously revealed that officials missed the 48-hour window that would have allowed them to unlock the device simply by using the shooter's fingerprint. 

According to the report in Reuters, if the gunman had fingerprint access enabled, Apple could've told authorities that they had 48 hours to use his prints to unlock the phone before the feature ceased to function.

However, when the conference was held, it was past 48 hours, and the agency landed itself in a legal means to get to the phone's contents. 

Reports noted that officials will now have to serve Apple with a court order to be able to get their hands on his iCloud data. 

So far, it is not clear if the FBI is already securing a court order, but it might have decided not to work with Apple after having a tough time convincing the company to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone. 

During the investigation into the case, Apple had refused to open the device for the agency even after the FBI took the company to court. 

However, the feds later paid a lot of money for a third-party company's tool that was able to unlock the device.

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