This week, the FBI requested Apple to help extract data from iPhones belonging to the Saudi aviation student who said that three mariners fatally shot at a US naval base in Florida last month.
Investigators tried to access both devices–iPhone 7 and iPhone 5 of the Royal Saudi Air Force’s 21-year-old Mohammed Alshamrani–but were incapable of accessing these devices because phones have been locked and encrypted according to the letter from the FBI Advisory Board, Dana Boente.
The FBI obtained a judicial warrant to check the telephones and equipment were sent to the office laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, Boente said.
In a letter reviewed by the Associated Press, the investigation is considered to be an “high priority national security issue.” On December 6, Alshamrani opened a fire at the Pensacola Naval Base, killing three mariners, and injured several others before a sheriff’s deputy killed him.
Leaders of the FBI tried to obtain support from other federal agencies and consultants and prosecutors, but they did not succeed in their attempts according to the report.
At least one of the phones was fired during the assault by a sheriff’s deputy, but researchers believe that they can still collect data from the system according to someone who understands the problem. The individual spoke anonymously to discuss an ongoing inquiry.
Apple stated in a statement that all the relevant data held by Apple has already been provided to investigators.
“We have the greatest respect for law enforcement and have always worked cooperatively to help in their investigations,” the company said. “When the FBI requested information from us relating to this case a month ago we gave them all of the data in our possession and we will continue to support them with the data we have available.”
Apple, Facebook and other technology companies talked to the FBI about their products ‘ end-to-end encryption to protect customers ‘ privacy on a regular basis. The technology industry resisted calls by the Justice Department for a “backdoor” to allow police to decipher encrypted messages that could aid spies and suspects.
Apple resisted efforts to gain access to the iPhone of a 2015 terrorist attack perpetrator in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people. The corporation went to trial to combat Apple’s appeal from the FBI for security measures that made it difficult to formulate the phone passcode. Upon finding another way to get into the cell, the FBI finally relented.