FBI officials have still not managed to unlock a passcode-protected iPhone that investigators believe was owned by Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the perpetrator of a mass shooting at a Naval Air Station in Florida in December.
The disclosure was made by FBI director Christopher Wray at a House Judiciary Committee hearing today, according to Bloomberg. Wray told Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) that the FBI is “currently engaged with Apple hoping to see if we can get better help from them so we can get access to that phone,” the report claims.
Last month, the FBI asked Apple for its assistance with unlocking the iPhone in a letter sent to the company’s chief lawyer Katherine Adams.
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr have called on Apple to assist the FBI with accessing data on the iPhone, but the company previously said that it has given investigators “all of the data in our possession” and said it “will continue to support them with the data we have available.”
In a follow-up statement, Apple said that while it was “devastated to learn of the tragic terrorist attack” at the Naval Air Station, creating a backdoor into iOS would threaten national security in the United States:
We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys. Backdoors can also be exploited by those who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. Today, law enforcement has access to more data than ever before in history, so Americans do not have to choose between weakening encryption and solving investigations. We feel strongly encryption is vital to protecting our country and our users’ data.
Apple faced a similar situation in 2016, when a U.S. federal judge ordered the company to help the FBI unlock an iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino, California. Apple opposed the order, noting that it would set a “dangerous precedent.”
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