FBI investigation of Minn. mall mass stabbing may rekindle iPhone encryption debate

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in iPhone
The FBI has the phone of Minnesota alleged terrorist and mass-stabbing perpetrator Dahir Adan, and is investigating how to gain access to the data contained within.









"Dahir Adan's iPhone is locked," FBI special agent Rich Thornton said in a statement. "We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain." As of yet, the FBI has not declared what model iPhone it is, nor what version of iOS is running on the device.



Dahir Adan stabbed 10 people in the Crossroad Center mall in St. Cloud, Minn. on Sept. 17. The FBI claims that Adan "may have been radicalized" in the days leading up to the attack, but the exact vector of the "almost overnight" transformation is not clear, according to Thornton.



The spree was stopped by an off-duty police officer, who confronted and ultimately shot Adan.



Adan's family, and people who knew him, claimed that Adan may have been provoked in the mall before the incident according to the local Star Tribune, but the investigation to this point has identified a pattern, and a plan leading up to to the attack.



International radical groups are claiming responsibility for Adan's actions, but if they actually have direct involvement in Adan's behavior is not known. The FBI wants access to the phone to help determine what, if any, influence the groups may have applied to Adan prior to the attack.



Even though large metropolitan areas like New York City have hundreds of seized iPhones that they want the information extracted from with the number growing every day, Apple has so far prevailed in its efforts to prevent the courts from mandating the construction of a "master key" to allow unfettered access to an iOS device by court order. However, all of the combined factors in Adan's attack and investigation may lead to another high profile potential legal approach to force Apple to make the tool.

Terrorism investigation as a platform for a legal assault



On Dec. 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured by a mass shooting by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik in San Bernardino California. The pair were ultimately shot by law enforcement after a four-hour chase.



Discovered amongst their possessions was a county-owned iPhone 5c. In a botched attempt to penetrate the phone, the county ordered a password reset on the device, preventing any data more recent than Oct. 19 from being automatically backed up to iCloud, and accessible to subpoena.



The Department of Justice said that they already had all the call logs for the device up to the date of the attack, as well as data backups from before the last connection of the phone to Apple's servers.



The judge overseeing the case dictated that Apple create a tool that would work with the seized iPhone 5c that would allow the government to unlock the phone, and grant access to the full contents and data store in the device's flash storage.



Apple CEO Tim Cook refused the request. The FBI ultimately purchased the services of a "grey hat" hacking company to penetrate the phone just hours before a court hearing about the subject, and no tangible data directly related to the shooting was ultimately found.



The FBI has refused requests for information regarding the iPhone 5c in the past, citing that since it does not own the hack, it can't talk about it. Apple has also said that they have no intention of filing suit for data about the penetration method, but a series of journalists have filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act to get this information.



As of yet, the FBI has not filed any legal request to demand Apple unlock Adan's phone.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,227member
    But you can get on an airplane with a bomb in the form of a Note 7, no questions asked. Where is the FBI in investigating that?
    mwhitelongpathanantksundaramlostkiwibadmonkwatto_cobralollivertallest skiljony0
  • Reply 2 of 30
    Why can't these mass-murdering types just buy Note 7s instead of iPhones? Think of how many problems this would solve. 
    biglongpathrossb2baconstangirelandwatto_cobralollivertallest skiljony0
  • Reply 3 of 30
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,438member
    We should be having a serious discussion about sharp-object control policy and legislation - not worrying about Social Media habits.
  • Reply 4 of 30
    Now, as a former resident of St Cloud, (the western outpost of Michelle Bachmann's domain of influence, and epicenter of the 'Stearns County Syndrome'),  this will play really well... 'ISIS....iPhone enabled Radicalization, by golly, it's plain as day... you know der, I gonda vote for dat der Trump guy, you betcha! and stop those Apples from killin' Murican's'


    bigbaconstanglostkiwiwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 30
    So was Jack the Ripper a Terrorist?

    Do kids these days not read 1984 by George Orwell?

    Lets stop calling every criminal terroris, because "Terrorist" has become a magic word that means "the constitution and the laws of the land don't apply, therefore we can operate as if we are a fascist state".

    Before long they will be calling drug dealers "terrorists" and even drug users.  Then hackers.

    Then anyone who doesn't vote for a democrat.

    Then they won't need to because we will all be in camps.

    IF you think this is hyperbole, you don't know history.  It has happened dozens of times in the past century. 
    mwhitebiglongpathjbdragonkuduirelandlostkiwiholyonetallest skiljony0
  • Reply 6 of 30
    bigbig Posts: 36member
    I mean this comment to be a thought experiment and not to be taken literally. But I wonder what would've happened if these attackers were android users instead of iOS? Is android security so bad that the FBI can hack in at will? And how would android users react to that?
    watto_cobralolliverjony0
  • Reply 7 of 30
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,227member
    big said:
    I mean this comment to be a thought experiment and not to be taken literally. But I wonder what would've happened if these attackers were android users instead of iOS? Is android security so bad that the FBI can hack in at will? And how would android users react to that?
    Fat Bois Incorporated couldn't find a basketball in a bushel basket.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    What about not shooting to kill, but incapacitating the suspect like we do in Europe and other civilised countries? That way you can interrogate someone and not making assumptions about someone being a terrorist. I am always surprised with how trigger happy USA police officers are without actually using that grey matter.
    baconstangjbdragonkudulostkiwibonoboblolliverjony0
  • Reply 9 of 30
    What about not shooting to kill, but incapacitating the suspect like we do in Europe and other civilised countries? That way you can interrogate someone and not making assumptions about someone being a terrorist. I am always surprised with how trigger happy USA police officers are without actually using that grey matter.
    Shoot the guy in the knees, or maybe he could have just shot the knife out of the guys hand, right?

    The USA is a civilized country, the USA police officers are not trigger happy, and you don't appear to have the first clue what you're talking about.
    edited October 2016 watto_cobratallest skil
  • Reply 10 of 30
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,227member
    What about not shooting to kill, but incapacitating the suspect like we do in Europe and other civilised countries? That way you can interrogate someone and not making assumptions about someone being a terrorist. I am always surprised with how trigger happy USA police officers are without actually using that grey matter.
    Please describe your expertise in this area. You've firearms training? Interrogation/ intelligence gathering experience? Or perhaps a civil rights advocate with data gleaned from extensive research? Do please continue to persuade us about your conclusions on the subject. We barbarians in the USA wish to know more.
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobratallest skil
  • Reply 11 of 30
    mnbob1mnbob1 Posts: 259member
    eightzero said:
    What about not shooting to kill, but incapacitating the suspect like we do in Europe and other civilised countries? That way you can interrogate someone and not making assumptions about someone being a terrorist. I am always surprised with how trigger happy USA police officers are without actually using that grey matter.
    Please describe your expertise in this area. You've firearms training? Interrogation/ intelligence gathering experience? Or perhaps a civil rights advocate with data gleaned from extensive research? Do please continue to persuade us about your conclusions on the subject. We barbarians in the USA wish to know more.
    I was born and raised here in the United States. In fact I live only about 40 miles from where this attack occurred. I live 4 miles from the Mall of America which is supposed to be on the top terrorism target list. I work at Target Field during Twins games (no jokes please) I am always aware of what's going on around me at all times.

     I think Rene had a valid point but it came across a bit snobbish. Our law enforcement does tend to shoot to kill perhaps more often than necessary. This guy had a knife. Why couldn't he be taken down by means other than deadly force?  We are so afraid of terroism that shoot to kill is the way we handle these situations. If the suspect were taken alive we would be able to learn so much more than anything on their iPhone. 
    edited October 2016 holyoneretrogustololliver
  • Reply 12 of 30
    irelandireland Posts: 17,534member
    The FBI is shit.
    lolliver
  • Reply 13 of 30
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    What about not shooting to kill, but incapacitating the suspect like we do in Europe and other civilised countries? That way you can interrogate someone and not making assumptions about someone being a terrorist. I am always surprised with how trigger happy USA police officers are without actually using that grey matter.
    Europe is hardly civilized. Don't perpetrate the myth that the USA is somehow uncivilized, while Europe is. Europe is a complete mess, and it's only a matter of time before you dopes revert back to the dark ages again. You're well on your way already.

    Europe is full of cowardly cowards, who welcome and import barbarism, who constantly make excuses for terrorists and it's probably only a matter of days before the next terrorist kills a bunch Europeans for fun. :#

    Good luck incapacitating the next terrorist shooting scores of people or running them down with large trucks, or stabbing them, or blowing them up.

    All happening in places that are mostly gun free, so Europeans can't even defend themselves, even though they are basically at war and under attack. What a bunch of naive and cowardly dopes.




    edited October 2016 sdw2001
  • Reply 14 of 30
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,495member
    So was Jack the Ripper a Terrorist?

    Do kids these days not read 1984 by George Orwell?

    Lets stop calling every criminal terroris, because "Terrorist" has become a magic word that means "the constitution and the laws of the land don't apply, therefore we can operate as if we are a fascist state".

    Before long they will be calling drug dealers "terrorists" and even drug users.  Then hackers.

    Then anyone who doesn't vote for a democrat.

    Then they won't need to because we will all be in camps.

    IF you think this is hyperbole, you don't know history.  It has happened dozens of times in the past century. 
    ". . . vote for a  democrat." — Brilliant. I'm sure that Alberto Gonzales or J. Edgar Hoover or Dick Cheney would be on Apple's side when it comes to encryption.
  • Reply 15 of 30
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,495member

    apple ][ said:
    What about not shooting to kill, but incapacitating the suspect like we do in Europe and other civilised countries? That way you can interrogate someone and not making assumptions about someone being a terrorist. I am always surprised with how trigger happy USA police officers are without actually using that grey matter.
    Europe is hardly civilized. Don't perpetrate the myth that the USA is somehow uncivilized, while Europe is. Europe is a complete mess, and it's only a matter of time before you dopes revert back to the dark ages again. You're well on your way already.

    Europe is full of cowardly cowards, who welcome and import barbarism, who constantly make excuses for terrorists and it's probably only a matter of days before the next terrorist kills a bunch Europeans for fun. :#

    Good luck incapacitating the next terrorist shooting scores of people or running them down with large trucks, or stabbing them, or blowing them up.

    All happening in places that are mostly gun free, so Europeans can't even defend themselves, even though they are basically at war and under attack. What a bunch of naive and cowardly dopes.




    Now here's a statement from a highly civilized American, and a highly intelligent one as well, as he himself will tell you.
    holyoneRosynalolliver
  • Reply 16 of 30
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,495member

    What about not shooting to kill, but incapacitating the suspect like we do in Europe and other civilised countries? That way you can interrogate someone and not making assumptions about someone being a terrorist. I am always surprised with how trigger happy USA police officers are without actually using that grey matter.
    A lot of us Americans also wonder about that trigger-happy question. This story about a guy with a penknife shot by a Seattle cop was on NPR this morning:

    http://www.npr.org/2016/10/07/496867205/years-after-police-shooting-woodcarvers-brother-remembers-the-man-he-lost

    There's some damning audio from the dashcam, if you listen to the story.
    edited October 2016 Rosynalolliver
  • Reply 17 of 30
    stevehsteveh Posts: 480member
    What about not shooting to kill, but incapacitating the suspect like we do in Europe and other civilised countries? 
    What experience do you have with shooting under high-pressure, fast moving conditions? To say nothing of coming into a situation with nine people already stabbed and bleeding?

    Everything you've learned from watching TV is wrong. Seriously.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 18 of 30
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    steveh said:
    What about not shooting to kill, but incapacitating the suspect like we do in Europe and other civilised countries? 
    What experience do you have with shooting under high-pressure, fast moving conditions? To say nothing of coming into a situation with nine people already stabbed and bleeding?

    Everything you've learned from watching TV is wrong. Seriously.
    He/she/it obviously has none. They are extremely ignorant and know very little about this particular case.

    The reality is that the off duty police man had to shoot the dirtbag terrorist multiple times, yet the animal kept charging, so thankfully, the off duty policeman did what they had to do and eliminated the immediate threat. At that point, multiple people had already been stabbed by the terrorist lowlife.

    Had this been in 'civilized' Europe, a whole lot more than 10 people would have been stabbed. We'd probably be reading about 50 people stabbed, because there wouldn't have been any citizens carrying a firearm, which could have neutralized the threat. Allowing 50 people to get stabbed and allowing multiple dead innocents doesn't sound very civilized to me. It sounds downright cowardly, disgusting, offensive and quite stupid. It actually sounds quite barbaric, but I expect not much more from that miserable lot of appeasing little, sniveling monkeys. No offense meant to any real primates of course. 
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 19 of 30
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,976member
    So was Jack the Ripper a Terrorist?

    Do kids these days not read 1984 by George Orwell?

    Lets stop calling every criminal terroris, because "Terrorist" has become a magic word that means "the constitution and the laws of the land don't apply, therefore we can operate as if we are a fascist state".

    Before long they will be calling drug dealers "terrorists" and even drug users.  Then hackers.

    Then anyone who doesn't vote for a democrat.

    Then they won't need to because we will all be in camps.

    IF you think this is hyperbole, you don't know history.  It has happened dozens of times in the past century. 
    I appreciated your comment except for calling out democrats. Just because the current President is a democrat doesn't mean everyone in Washington DC is. Obama did appoint James Comey as the new head of the FBI in 2013 (confirmed by the Senate) but he originally was a Republican (changed to Independent) and was appointed as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York under George W Bush in 2002. Very few federal employees are actually appointed by the President. The vast majority are civil servants with their own political opinions. The FBI, the government department we're ragging on at the moment, has always been above the law--or at least has tried to be. When J. Edgar Hoover became the director of the BOI in 1924, the the director of the FBI in 1935 (until his death in 1972), the basis for the way the FBI is operated was set in stone. I would include the FBI in your list of terrorists along with the CIA. They have way too much power and abuse it constantly. This federal organization is neither democrat or republican and in many cases not democratic. As for 1984, I totally agree and feel we're already there.
    lolliver
  • Reply 20 of 30
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,390member
    What about not shooting to kill, but incapacitating the suspect like we do in Europe and other civilised countries? That way you can interrogate someone and not making assumptions about someone being a terrorist. I am always surprised with how trigger happy USA police officers are without actually using that grey matter.
    Shoot the guy in the knees, or maybe he could have just shot the knife out of the guys hand, right?

    The USA is a civilized country, the USA police officers are not trigger happy, and you don't appear to have the first clue what you're talking about.
    And you appear to be living in denial.  If the last few years have proven anything, it's that at the very least, police forces all over the country have to be substantially retrained and their crime strategies need to be changed from occupy and assault to community policing.  And if they're dealing with a young black man, they do seem to be trigger happy.   That certainly doesn't apply to all cops.   Even though we've also had some problems in NYC and "stop & frisk" was an insult to the community that accomplished almost nothing except killing the relationship between cops and minority communities (which were relatively positive after the sacrifices of 9/11), most NYC cops don't take their guns out of their holsters while on active duty their entire careers.   But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of bad, unprofessional, racist cops.  And this has probably been going on for years, but until the advent of smartphone video, we didn't know about it.   We just believed what the cops reported.   

    As far as the topic of the post is concerned, about the only information of value they could possibly get off the phone is whether this terrorism communicated with another domestic terrorist.   If he communicated with overseas terrorists, what would the FBI do with information anyway?  There's nothing they could do.
    hmmRosynalolliver
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