World Bulletin / News Desk
The FBI hinted Friday that it wants help from Apple to unlock an iPhone that belongs to the man who launched a knife attack at a Minnesota shopping mall last month.
Dahir Adan stabbed and wounded 10 people at the mall in St. Cloud. He was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer and authorities retrieved an iPhone in his possession, although the FBI would not reveal exactly what model.
“Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked,” FBI Special Agent Rich Thornton said at a press conference. “We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.”
Thornton said that sorting through Adan’s technology is key to finding any links to Daesh or other militant groups.
Beginning in 2014, all iPhones and iPads have been protected by encryption that not even Apple can decrypt, which is why the model of Adan’s iPhone is important. This encryption has forced the FBI to call on Apple to revise its security standards in order to allow law enforcement to hack into devices, a request the company has refused on numerous occasions.
Although the FBI has not commented on its “options” in decrypting the iPhone in question, the case echoes a legal standoff earlier this year between the Bureau and Apple.
In February, the FBI announced that it had a court order to force Apple to unlock an iPhone belonging to Rizwan Farook, one of the alleged shooters in a deadly terror attack in San Bernadino, California, last December. Apple refused to comply but in March the FBI backed off of its request and said a third party had helped agents crack into Farook’s smartphone.
Apple has made its positions clear on a website that was launched by critics who claim the company should build a “master key” for law enforcement agencies that want to unlock an iPhone.
“We strongly believe the only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to never create it,” the company said in an open letter responding to the FBI’s court order.