Once again the iPhone maker and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) caught up in a wrangle about the device encryption. The story arises after FBI blamed the tech industry for not being able to hack into Devin P. Kelley’s iPhone, the man who shot 26 to dead at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. On Tuesday, FBI told that it hadn't been able to access the gunman’s device which was identified as the iPhone, at a press conference. Apple in return refuted the FBI statement and said it immediately contacted the Bureau to help in unlocking the Texas shooter’s phone.
The FBI didn't specifically name the Apple while casting the blame and accusation for preventing the legal authorities from accessing the mass shooter’s iPhone. “Law enforcement is increasingly not able to get into these phones,” said Christopher Combs, the leading investigation officer at a press conference. “I can assure you that we are working very hard to get on the phone.”
However, Apple told Business Insider that the FBI didn't ask the device maker for assistance to access the data on the kelly’s iPhone. An Apple spokesperson also said,”Our team immediately reached out to the FBI after learning from their press conference on Tuesday that investigators were trying to access a mobile phone. We offered assistance and said we would expedite our response to any legal process they send us”
Apple's statement on the phone used by the Texas church gunman is quite something pic.twitter.com/RVwk13tM6U— John Paczkowski (@JohnPaczkowski) November 8, 2017
"We work with law enforcement every day. We offer training to thousands of agents so they understand our devices and how they can quickly request information from Apple,” Apple continued. By not accepting the assistance from Apple, the FBI missed 48-hour window of possibility to access Kelly’s phone using his fingerprint. As iPhone locks the fingerprint access if the user didn't use the Touch id in last 48 hours. This information could have helped the department to unlock the phone sooner.
Last year, the FBI and Apple caught up in a legal fight over the high profile case of a shooter named Sayeed Farook in San Bernardino. Apple refused to open the iPhone for FBI and the battle came to an end with FBI paying $1 million to the third party for bypassing the Farook’s iPhone 5c encryption. The FBI kept asking the tech industries including Apple to create a backdoor for the law enforcement to sneak into the criminal’s phones.