Texas Authorities are officially pushing the Apple to assist in unlocking the mass shooter’s phone by serving a search warrant. On November 5, 26 people were shot to death by David Kelly at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. After the incident, the FBI found one push-button LG phone along with other smartphone belongs to the shooter. Two days after the mass murder, the FBI held a press conference where they blamed the phone maker for making the law enforcement unable to access the phone data without quoting ‘Apple’ in the news. Now, the authorities have served the Apple with a legal search warrant to access the Texas shooter’s iPhone SE.
Apple previously replied that it has contacted immediately after the press conference to the law enforcement to assist with shooter’s phone. However, the iPhone could also be unlocked within the 48 hours after the death of the victim using his fingerprint. But, the authorities didn't reach out the Apple for help instead they shipped off the phone to a crime lab in Quantico, Virginia. Under the search warrant, the Texas Ranger and the FBI want the Apple to provide David Kelly’s iCloud as well iPhone data to them.
The legal step from the authorities could put Apple in a tough situation as it could provide the iCloud data. But, the iPhone encryption after the 48 hours of safety feature makes it too difficult for Apple or anyone else to hack into the phone. Apple won't be creating the necessary tools needed to unlock into the iPhone SE for the law enforcement.
Same happened in the San Bernardino mass murder case in late 2015 when the FBI took the matter to the court. The FBI filed against the iPhone maker and ask them to provide specific decryption tools to access the shooter’s iPhone. However, the hearing doesn't end in the law enforcement's favor and the FBI had to pay a third party for hacking into the phone and eventually found nothing. After that incident, Tim Cook, Apple CEO wrote an open letter to the legal authorities saying “The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”
For now, the offer from Apple is still open for the authorities to work together outside the court. Apple did not comment on the served warrant under its policy of not speaking against the law enforcement matters.