Attorney General William Barr Asks Apple to Unlock iPhones of Pensacola Gunman

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Attorney General William Barr declared that a deadly shooting in Dec at a naval air station in Pensacola (FL) was an act of terrorism, and he asked Apple in an unusually high-profile request to provide access to two phones used by the gunman. AG Barr’s appeal was an escalation of an ongoing fight between the Justice Department and Apple pitting personal privacy against public safety. “This situation perfectly illustrates why it is critical that the public be able to get access to digital evidence,” Barr said, calling on Apple and other technology companies to find a solution and complaining that Apple has provided no “substantive assistance.” Apple has given investigators materials from the iCloud account of the gunman, Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a member of the Saudi air force training with the American military, who killed three sailors and wounded eight others on Dec 6. But the company has refused to help the FBI open the phones themselves, which would undermine its claims that its phones are secure. Justice Department officials said that they need access to Alshamrani’s phones to see messages from encrypted apps like Signal or WhatsApp to determine whether he had discussed his plans with others at the base and whether he was acting alone or with help.

Barr Asks Apple to Unlock iPhones of Pensacola Gunman