The FBI has sent a letter to Apple’s general counsel Katherine Adams, asking the Cupertino firm for help in unlocking two iPhones that investigators believe belonged to Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the man that carried out the mass shooting at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida last month.
NBC News reports the iPhones are passcode protected, and one of them appears to have been damaged by gunfire. Apple, in a statement to NBC News, said it has already provided all of the data in its possession to the FBI.
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.
Apple has faced similar situations with the FBI, perhaps the most notable in recent years was back in 2016, then a U.S. federal judge ordered the company to help the FBI unlock an iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino, California.
Apple opposed the order, saying it would set a “dangerous precedent,” with security risks. The Department of Justice eventually dropped the case against Apple, as the FBI used a third-party to help unlock Farook’s iPhone.
It appears Apple will resist aiding the FBI in its quest to unlock the iPhones for the FBI, possibly leading to another court battle between the iPhone maker and the government.