Earlier this month, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asked Apple to help unlock two iPhones suspected to be owned by a shooter at a Naval base in Pensacola, Florida.
Apple refused to participate and reiterated its privacy encryption at CES. Now, according to CNBC, the U.S. Attorney General is saying Apple has not helped the government’s cause.
“We have asked Apple for their help in unlocking the shooter’s iPhones. So far Apple has not given us any substantive assistance,” said Attorney General William Barr, adding, “This situation perfectly illustrates why it is critical that investigators be able to get access to digital evidence once they have obtained a court order based on probable cause.”
Barr continued to say, “We call on Apple and other technology companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of Americans and prevent future attacks.”
The Attorney General did not comment when asked if the government would use a court order to force Apple to comply.
Last week, Apple stated the following:
“We have the greatest respect for law enforcement and have always worked cooperatively to help in their investigations. 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.”
Back in 2016, the U.S. government similarly asked Apple to help it unlock an iPhone, belonging to another shooter from a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. The FBI sued Apple to comply but eventually hacked into the iPhone through a third party (at the cost of over $1 million USD), which had a loophole to hack into the smartphone’s security.