US President Donald Trump on December 14 berated tech giant Apple for refusing to unlock iPhones of criminals while benefiting in the trade sector with the help of the government. According to reports, Trump's tweet on Apple came amid the ongoing investigation revolving around the shooting of three US citizens by a Saudi Air Force officer at the American Naval station located in Pensacola, Florida. On December 13, US attorney general William Barr called the shooting incident an 'act of terrorism'.
We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2020
According to reports, Apple stated that it cannot access password-protected data on an iPhone, adding that it will have to build a specific tool to access the data. The Tim Cook-led company does give data available on its cloud servers to authorities. These data includes data such as backed-up messages. The tech giant did not respond to Trump's tweet. It also rejected the claim that the company was not providing assistance.
According to reports, Apple said that it had given a lot of data to people investigating the case such as iCloud backups, account information etc. The company further added that federal authorities did not ask them to unlock iPhones until January 6 with another request sent on January 8.
A representative of the Department of Justice stated that a judge had given permission to the DOJ to access the terrorists' mobile phones, adding that Apple was the company who designed the iPhones and installed the encryption in them. She also said that it is a normal request from their side if Apple will help them or not.
The shooting took place on December 6, 2019, at the US Naval station. According to reports, the shooter claimed three lives and injured several others. The assailant was eventually put down by Escambia County sheriff deputies after they arrived at the crime scene. According to reports, on January 13, 2020, the DOJ classified the shooting an act of terrorism. The gunman, identified as Mohammed Alshamrani was receiving flight training at Pensacola Naval Air station. The shooter was availing basic aviation, initial pilot training and English classes at the Pensacola base since 2017.