Briefing

U.S. attorney general wants Apple to give access to a mass shooter’s iPhones

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Declaring last month’s killing of three sailors at a Pensacola, Fla. naval air base an act of terrorism, William Barr has asked the company to unlock two iPhones of Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, who was killed in the ensuing firefight with responding officers. Apple has said it provided the information it had, but wouldn’t unlock them. (The New York Times, BuzzFeed News)

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Talking point: This isn’t the first time the U.S. government asked Apple to hack its own wares. In 2015, the FBI attempted to compel the company to unlock the phone of Syed Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people in San Bernardino in 2015; the agency dropped the order the day before it was to face Apple in court. (The bureau spent US$900,000 on an outside vendor, which hacked the phone.) Apple’s stance has drawn the ire of U.S. lawmakers like Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who said the company “has a notorious history of siding with terrorists over law enforcement.”