While there has been plenty of backlash against law enforcement agencies for obtaining warrants to get Apple to unlock their phones, the company is also said to be helping investigators in the Florida shooting.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the company is helping police search through the mass shooter’s phones in the case. While law enforcement seems to like that Apple is helping, it has also been criticized by some users for its cooperation in helping them.
Reuters previously reported that police were investigating what information obtained on devices like a MacBook, iPhone, or iPad could be used to develop a probable cause for the shooting.
Although encryption has been the hot topic in discussion, the issue has not changed.
A local Florida court, on Friday, ordered Apple to weaken the data protection on the shooter’s devices, but law enforcement authorities have not accepted the ruling.
The company is reportedly providing some assistance in the case, but has not gone too far, thus far.
“We are deeply saddened and outraged by this weekend’s horrific shooting in Florida and our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” Apple told Reuters. “We are assisting the authorities in any way we can to help shed light on this horrific act.”
While Apple may help police in some way, the company has always maintained that it opposes such a law.
“We stand by our longstanding position that governments should not require companies to expose their customers to a greater risk of attack. “Weakening encryption is not the answer and could create a dangerous precedent.”
A man and woman stand outside the home of Omar Mateen, the gunman in a mass shooting in the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Apple faces criticism over what it has done in the past when authorities have demanded they assist in such cases. In 2015, the FBI asked Apple to unlock the iPhone belonging to a terrorist who had killed 14 people.
In the first known case of Apple unlocking a terrorist’s device, the company initially refused to comply and had to fight the FBI in court for nearly three months.
The company sent a representative to help with the raid, but the executives did not unlock the phone.
A U.S. appeals court sided with Apple in 2016.
“We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along,” a spokesman said at the time.
The case was presented as an illegal search of protected data, which the court ruled in favor of Apple.
That same year, Apple had also helped a U.S. citizen in Illinois, Brian McCann, unlock his iPhone after they discovered that it had been hacked. In 2018, Apple helped authorities unlock a device in a search warrant in Michigan.