Texas Rangers investigating the fatal mass shooting at a Texas church have served Apple with a warrant in a bid to unlock the iPhone SE used by one of the shooters.
Twenty-six people were killed earlier this month when a gunman opened fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Authorities investigating the tragic incident are now asking for access to the files stored on the iPhone belonging to Devin P. Kelley, according to media reports. Texas Rangers and the FBI want to comb through the data stored in Kelley’s iCloud account.
The warrant comes after Apple announced it had contacted authorities approximately 48 hours after the shooting occurred to offer assistance — while Touch ID would still have been enabled and accessing the device’s data would have been far easier. The FBI, did not make use of the offer, however, and sent the Smartphone instead to its crime lab in Quantico, Virginia.
Now that the Touch ID window has passed, the authorities want Apple’s help to unlock the iPhone SE.
The situation is not a new one and could result in another fight between Apple and the FBI.
Apple was served a federal court order last year that demanded the company help the FBI unlock the iPhone 5C of one of the attackers to carry out the Dec. 2, 2015 terrorist attack that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif. The FBI wanted Apple to build a “backdoor” into the iPhone, a move that CEO Tim Cook opposed vehemently.
“While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products,” Cook said at the time. “And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”
Apple has yet to respond to the latest search warrant but, as past precedence indicates, a legal battle could ensue.