Apple has another iPhone-unlocking conundrum on its hands! This time the request reportedly comes from Russian and Turkish authorities, who want Apple to help bypass the PIN code on an iPhone 4s recovered at the scene of the recent murder of Andrei Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey.
Karlov was murdered in Ankara, Turkey, on December 19 in a shooting committed by off-duty police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas. At the time, the ambassador was giving a speech at an art gallery. The assassin got close to the politician by pretending to be his official bodyguard. Altintas was later shot to death by Turkish special forces.
At present, Apple has allegedly not made clear whether it will help unlock the iPhone. Russia is planning to send a technical team to Turkey to help unlock the device, which is said to have belonged to Altintas.
Apple’s stance on encryption
Earlier this year, Apple found itself faced with a similar case, in which it declined to help the FBI unlock an iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, the suspect in an apparent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. Farook was thought to have possibly coordinated his attack using an iPhone 5c, which is why authorities were keen to break into the device.
The FBI wanted Apple to build a special version of iOS that would allow it to bypass some of the device’s security features. Apple, however, refused to do this — and elevated the discussion into a wider argument about security and privacy in the digital age.
In the end, the FBI was able to get around the iPhone’s security, although Apple stood firm in its refusal to help.
Will the same happen here? We’ll have to wait and see.