Apple refuses to comply with the request from US Justice Minister William Barr to help unlock two iPhones of a Saudi terrorist, the company said in a statement to Input . The man shot three people on December 6 in a classroom at a US Navy airbase in the state of Florida.
Barr asked Apple on Monday for a "solution" for unlocking two smartphones from Mohammed Saeed Al Shamrani. He also announced on Monday that the US regards the attack as terrorism. The lieutenant himself followed training at the military base and was shot by an agent after his act.
Before he died, Saeed Al Shamrani shot a bullet through one of his iPhones. The other device was also damaged. The FBI has been able to repair both smartphones, but despite the court's permission, cannot search the devices for evidence because they are highly encrypted.
"It is very important for us to know who and what the shooter communicated with before he died," said Barr. "We call on Apple and other tech companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of American citizens and prevent future attacks."
According to Apple, it is impossible to build "a back door only for the good guys". "Back doors can also be misused by those who control our national security and the data security of our customers," the company told Input . "Investigation services today have access to more data than ever before, so Americans do not have to choose between weakening encryption and resolving investigations."
Repetition of the same discussion four years ago
Barr's request is a repeat of the same discussion that took place four years ago. In early 2016, the FBI asked Apple for help unlocking the iPhone 5c from Syed Rizwan Farook. The terrorist shot fourteen people and his wife in a care home in San Bernardino in December 2015.
After Apple also refused then, it almost came between a lawsuit between the company and the FBI. Eventually the investigation service managed to unlock the iPhone with the help of a third party. Details about that hack were not disclosed.