Apple Refuses To Give Investigators Full Access To Pensacola Terrorist's Phone

Holly Matkin

U.S. Attorney General William Barr blasted Apple for refusing to help provide access to Mohammed Alshamrani's phones.

Pensacola, FL – U.S. Attorney General William Barr blasted Apple for refusing to help provide access to two phones used by the gunman who murdered three sailors and wounded eight others during last month’s terrorist attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

“We have asked Apple for help in unlocking the shooter’s phones,” Barr told reporters during a press conference on Monday. “So far, Apple has not given any substantive assistance.”

Barr noted that investigators have determined the attack was an “act of terrorism,” and that the shooter, 21-year-old Saudi Arabia aviation student Mohammed Alshamrani, was motivated by jihadist ideology, Business Insider reported.

Although Apple has the capability of breaking the encryption on the killer’s phones, it has refused to do so under the argument that creating such “backdoors” for law enforcement investigations could jeopardize the privacy of all users’ phones.

The company said it has been working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since the attack, and that it has provided investigators with access to Alshamrani’s iCloud account and payment information related to several other accounts, The New York Times reported.

But Apple refused to break the devices’ encryption, which has been widely touted as impossible to crack.

Barr argued that in doing so, Apple has refused to give them access to much of the information investigators really need.

“We don’t want to get into a world where we have to spend months and even years exhausting efforts when lives are in the balance,” he said, according to The New York Times. “We should be able to get in when we have a warrant that establishes that criminal activity is underway.”

“This situation perfectly illustrates why it is critical that the public be able to get access to digital evidence,” he added.

The attorney general called on Apple and other technology companies to help find a solution in order to “better protect the lives of American people and prevent future attacks.”

Following the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that left 14 victims and two shooters dead, a federal judge ordered Apple to assist the FBI in bypassing the security features on the gunmen’s phones, Business Insider reported.

But the company refused, arguing that doing so would “threaten the security” of their customers.

The FBI subsequently filed a lawsuit against Apple for failing to comply with the federal court’s order, but abandoned the suit after the government paid an undisclosed party $900,000 to bypass the phone’s security instead, Business Insider reported.

"We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys," Apple said in a statement in response to Barr’s press conference. “"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,” the company declared. “We feel strongly encryption is vital to protecting our country and our users' data."

President Donald Trump also lashed out at Apple on Tuesday, demanding that the company “step up to the plate” to help protect citizens.

“We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements,” the President tweeted. “They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”

Comments (90)
Dick Danger
Dick Danger

Good for Apple. The government has access to too much of our information as it is.

No. 1-25
JBoH
JBoH

I can't really understand Apple's position on this. This terrorist has already murdered and wounded eleven unarmed members of the military. I would say that the killer surrendered his rights to any privacy when he started shooting people. Apple phones sure seem to be a terrorist's dream.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

Just as I thought it would, and should, go. Tech companies should never be under any pressure to divulge unprotecting data, especially to the government. As soon as you establish precedent, it's over for everyone else.

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

Apple is committing a no no. They had a warrant signed by a judge. They need to go in and shut the place down, until those prissy tech executives understand they are subject to jail time, like the rest of us.

xenonman
xenonman

Well, subpoena the damned thing!

PB62
PB62

Terrorist don't deserve our freedoms.

kkat
kkat

Apple did the same thing when the San Bernadino Terrorist massacre occurred. They refused to cooperate. Eventually though, Investigators were able to get in another way. Privacy is one thing. However, when crimes have been committed, felonies, murder, there should be no more privacy. Any and all info should be fair game for Law Enforcement to get to the truth and evidence!

Raymelson
Raymelson

When it involves killing Americans there should be no privacy on any phone records also I'm a firm believer in privacy unless the loss of life is involved I think Apple is wrong no one that goes on a killing spree should be protected by privacy also apple should not be allowed to defiey a court order

MSK
MSK

How do you just say NO to a search warrant or subpoena signed by a judge and there are no repercussions? The “usual suspects” on here that are standing up for Apple would feel totally different if one of these murderers was pointing a 45 at their head or one of their children. I swore to uphold the constitution but I’ll tell you that if it stood between the life or death of one of my kids I would quickly forget my oath in a nano-second.

javaguy
javaguy

Shut the company down, chain the doors, don't let anybody in. too greedy anyway.

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

"Although Apple has the capability of breaking the encryption on the killer’s phones, it has refused to do so under the argument that creating such “backdoors” for law enforcement investigations could jeopardize the privacy of all users’ phones." Having Apple be the ones to break the encryption doesn't create a backdoor; giving the government that ability does, and as a valid concern.

How they are able to refuse a judge's order with no consequences amazes me. You want to refuse a government agency request? fine. you want to refuse a court order? Shouldn't someone be in jail over that? You won't tell the government how to do it? fine; apple can fly to the location and use their proprietary equipment to decrypt it, and then hand it over to LEO. not that difficult, and no company secrets are revealed.....

Stanracer
Stanracer

Someone needs to be locked up over this.

Ronbwolf
Ronbwolf

This is why I, and everyone in my family, dropped Apple products years ago. I agree with other posters, a search warrant has been issued, they should comply, if they don't, arrest all of the executives responsible, for contempt!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday
  1. Contrary to some posters on this thd, I don't think Apple is responding to a search warrant. Article doesn't say that. Give me a link if I am incorrect about this.

  2. Search warrants are to get things (like copies of data). The government isn't seeking a thing here. The government already has the phones and the data that is stored in the phones. The government wants Apple to perform services. That is not what a search warrant is for, and that is not what a subpoena is for. If the government wants to force Apple to provide services on its behalf then it needs to draft Apple into the armed services (and good luck with that).

JACQUEWB
JACQUEWB

Wonder if someone connected with Apple is also connected with the terrorist group who are killing or attempting to kill Americans.

Kevcali
Kevcali

Take Apple's ability to conduct business, take their licenses, take their airwaves! That will get their attention!

Stay free
Stay free

Most here do not understand the issue.

Apple could break the encryption. They have not already done so and refusing access.

If Apple breaks thier encryption on this phone, they break the encryption on all Apple phones. It is all or none.

If you hide a key under the mat at your door, others may not know it is there, others could still find it and use it. Apple breaks it encryption, thousands will be looking for the "key" and it will be found.

widbill45acp
widbill45acp

Close your eyes, and imagine what it would be like if a gun manufacturer would not give out information on a gun used to commit a crime!

Usaf9000
Usaf9000

I’d be extremely pissed if my family was killed because apple wouldn’t open a phone for police. They don’t have to show investigators how to open it, they just need to open it for them or even just give them the information Off the phone needed to save lives.

Me55
Me55

Why do people believe that the stuff in their phone is so important? It's not. It's all vanity and ego. Get over yourself. If you aren't breaking the law, who gives a shit what's on your phone.

Billy duncan
Billy duncan

Is that not called OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.

Hi_estCommieDenom
Hi_estCommieDenom

We can thank Obama for this disrespect toward law enforcement, and the job they need to do...

Jake Westin
Jake Westin

You people are clueless. What do you expect Apple to do with an encrypted device? What are you going to force them to do with a court order when law enforcement is in possession of the device? Ask them for the password? They don't know it, it's not their device! There is no key, there is no back door, there is no secret button that the company retains to get in, because it's not password protected, its ENCRYPTED. The only way to bypass encryption is with a brute force computational attack which Apple can do no better than the FBI or law enforcement can. The fact that it this is the case is good for YOUR freedom and liberty.

tuggingalong
tuggingalong

There should be some sort of terrorism law that allows the federal government to hack these phones.

If Obama asked, perhaps they would have honored his request since he spent billions handing out free ( taxpayers are paying for them) cell phones to people who don't or can’t support themselves and are now the government’s slaves. The slaves jobs? Complaining about working people who don’t do enough to support their free ride.

Offended
Offended

The government has hackers on payroll just do it already and get off apples back


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