techcrunch: Authorities serve Apple a warrant for Texas shooter’s iPhone by Brian Heater:
Two weeks ago today [11/21], 26 people were killed by a gunman at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Two phones were discovered at the scene: older push-button LG and what local news described as a “blood spattered” Apple iPhone SE. Now local law enforcement has served Apple with a search warrant in order to retrieve information from the smartphone.
The news has echoes of a recent spat between Apple and the FBI over a mass shooting in San Bernadino, California, in late 2015. Apple appears to have been proactive this time around. The Tuesday following the murders, the FBI held a press conference noting the existence of one of two phones, without revealing the make, as it didn’t want to “tell every bad guy out there what phone to buy.”
As reported by The Washington Post, the mystery handset was indeed an iPhone. Apple reached out to law enforcement after the press conference, offering technical assistance in getting onto the device. The company, it seems, could have provided help early on, without much legal wrangling or more software controversial backdoors.
The warrant is Apple’s requirement, and justifiably. If the phone belongs to the dead shooter, a dead man has no standing. If it belongs to a co-conspirator, that person lost standing by giving the phone to one who left it behind. Still, a search warrant isn’t all that hard to get, and Apple shouldn’t accede to government demands to open a phone without one.