The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into “
legal and technical options” to access information stored in the locked iPhone of Dahir Adan, the suspected terrorist who allegedly stabbed 10 people at a mall in Minnesota.
The information comes from a report from Wired quoting special agent Rich Thorton during a press conference.
Due to the involvement of the FBI, a suspected terrorist, and a locked iPhone, this case echoes the controversial San Bernardino case in February.
In the San Bernardino case, the FBI issued a court order that demanded Apple to create an alternate version of the iPhone’s operating system that could allow an unlimited number of passcodes to be input electronically — this would be used to unlock an iPhone owned by Rizwan Farook, a suspect in the alleged terrorist attack in San Bernardino.
Apple fought against the court order, saying an altered version of iOS would undermine the privacy and security of all iPhone users. The FBI dropped its case toward the end of March after the bureau announced it had found a third-party to help it unlock that particular phone.
In a similar way, this new case in Minnesota might resurface the debate of whether or not law enforcement should be able to make continuous and successful requests for access to locked devices belonging to suspects.
In March, the FBI argued that Apple was obstructing law enforcement efforts, whereas Apple argued that creating a “back door” into its devices could compromise the security of all its devices, and therefore its customers.
As of yet, there are few details on the FBI’s feasibility to crack Adan’s iPhone. It’s still unclear whether or not the FBI could use the same methods and/or third-party to break into Adan’s iPhone as it did with the San Bernardino iPhone in March, as the FBI did not disclose any details of those methods.
It’s also still unclear if the FBI and Apple have been in contact regarding this new case. Apple declined Wired’s request for comment, and the company has not yet replied to Business Insider’s request. Business Insider also reached out to the Minnesota FBI for comment on the case; we’ll update this story if we learn more.
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