Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

A new case might lead the FBI and Apple into another fight over security and privacy on smartphones, following a confirmation yesterday by FBI special agent Rich Thorton that the FBI has the iPhone of Dahir Adan in its possession (via Wired).

Adan was the culprit behind the stabbing of 10 people in a Minnesota mall in mid-September, and was eventually shot and killed by police. After the event, terrorist organization ISIS claimed credit for the attack on social media, but "no evidence has emerged to suggest ISIS had a hand in planning or executing the attack."

During a press conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota yesterday, Thorton confirmed that the FBI has Adan's iPhone and that it is locked with a passcode. According to the special agent, the organization is "still trying to figure out how to gain access to the phone's contents." The issue currently is that the model and version of iOS running on the iPhone is known only to the FBI. Following the launch of iOS 8 in 2014, any iOS device running the software is encrypted to an extent that no malicious outsider -- or even Apple itself -- can get into the iPhone or iPad.
"Dahir Adan's iPhone is locked," Thornton told reporters, "We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain."
Because of this, the deciding factor on whether or not the new issue could lead to another San Bernardino-related debate between Apple and the FBI hinges on the software and model of his iPhone (iOS 8 can run on iPhone 4s and newer devices). For now, Thorton said that the FBI is simply "assessing" its "legal and technical options" for ways to enter the iPhone and extract any potentially helpful data it might contain.

The San Bernardino case began much the same way, with the FBI ordering Apple to provide assistance in opening up Syed Farook's iPhone 5c because the company had the "technical means" to do so. A long battle between the two organizations eventually led to the Justice Department dropping the case against Apple, reportedly due to an anonymous source providing the iPhone's password to authorities.

During the controversy, everyone from former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates to President Obama chimed in on the issue. Throughout multiple interviews and quotes, Apple CEO Tim Cook remained adamant on the company's continuing stance for user privacy, calling the FBI's request for entering an iPhone "the software equivalent of cancer." Its implementation could lead to a slippery slope in terms of invasive technology in everyday smartphones, as pointed out by Apple executive Eddy Cue, and even a potential surveillance state.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: FBI Looking Into 'Legal and Technical Options' for Entering Another Terrorist's iPhone
  • Like
Reactions: Sunny1990


macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
This will never, ever end. They'll keep pushing fear and using 'terrorist' buzzwords until they can get a backdoor into every phone and computer.

So will all the other countries, of course. Can't allow just America to have this advantage. Not that they'd have to go the legal route; some toilet brush at the FBI would leave the codes on a desk in Chinatown, and the rest is history.

Hopefully Apple will stay strong and the public will backlash against what the FBI wants to do at every given opportunity. Troubling times. :(


Dec 6, 2012
FBI has not requested anything from Apple yet. Hopefully they learned their lesson and are turning to ethical hackers to help out. If they do come back to Apple they better be better prepared, because I do not see Apple changing their position. On this issue, at least, I stand with Tim.


macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2012
Apple's stance on this issue is what makes me proud to be an mac & ios user, on top of the fact that their software works better than microsoft and android, and we cannot forget to mention their phones don't burst into flames.


macrumors 603
Oct 23, 2014
Port Moody, BC, Canada
FBI has not requested anything from Apple yet. Hopefully they learned their lesson and are turning to ethical hackers to help out. If they do come back to Apple they better be better prepared, because I do not see Apple changing their position. On this issue, at least, I stand with Tim.
How do you know that? Usually it's all quietly done in the background. I'm sure a lot of service providers were a little surprised at how public everything got last time.

Apple needs to develop a tool to do this, that law enforcement / government agencies can bring their suspect devices to a secure facility in Apple HQ to unlock the content of these phones.

They need to build it in such a way that it will only work in this fashion and cannot be removed from their possession.

Yes, I know a bunch of people will jump up and talk about civil liberties, etc....Apple can either build the means to comply on a case by case basis and not sacrifice the security for all, or eventually be forced to comply with the wishes of the US government.

Remember the PATRIOT act folks? It's still there. There's lots of precedence of other service providers complying. Apple's just putting on a show as a PR stunt - to make their offering seem the pinnacle of security.


macrumors 6502
Apr 21, 2012
Cincinnati Metro
If only it had the note's self destruct feature.....

Possibly the best burn I've heard this month.

That said, I agree with you in a figurative sense. One of the things that Apple should employ to counter FBI's inevitable jackassery regarding digital privacy and security is to include a burn PIN and external dump prevention whilst locke. If you enter it instead of your unlock pin, or someone attempts to forcibly dump the data partition whilst it's locked, it immediately bleachbits the volume.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.