What do the Texas Rangers want from Apple?

From the San Antonio Express News:

Texas Rangers investigating the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs have served a search warrant on Silicon Valley giant Apple Inc. and are seeking digital photos, messages, documents and other types of data that might have been stored by gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, who was found with an iPhone after he killed himself…

Investigators discovered a pistol under his feet, and his silver and white iPhone SE was sitting on the vehicle’s front floorboard. Two days after the shooting, a second phone, the black LG model, was found in a pocket in the driver’s side door, and officials want access to the device to forensically search for evidence of capital murder.

My take: The Texas cops are just following procedures. They already have plenty of evidence of capital murder; now they’re leaving no stone unturned. They want to know what’s in Kelley’s iPhone and Apple needs a search warrant before they’ll cooperate. Apple can’t—by design—unlock the iPhone. They can decrypt Kelley’s iCloud account and any backups it may contain. And that’s about as far as it goes. As someone called Soli put it on the AppleInsider comment stream:

They know who did the killing and he’s dead. We know he worked alone. Maybe if you’re a psychologist there is data to be had in trying to understand the criminal mind, but that’s not the job of Texas Rangers, as far as I know.

In case the feds weighs in, see Apple 3.0’s FBI files.


  1. John Kirk said:
    Apple knows that so long as they can provide data to the police, they will be asked to do so. “What’s wrong with that?”, you may well ask. Well, what’s wrong with that is that when we talk about the police, we’re not just talking about local police, or the FBI, or even the NSA. We’re talking about every governmental body the world around. If Apple has to comply with a subpoena from the Texas Rangers, they also have to comply with requests from authoritarian governments too.

    Apple knows they have to comply with requests. So there is only one thing they can do — and they’re doing it. Apple has to make their phones so secure that Apple will be unable to break into them. That way, when Apple receives a request from a governmental authority, they won’t say they don’t want to comply, they’ll simply say that they CANNOT comply.

    This is going to drive law and order fanatics up the wall. They’re going to claim that by making their phones so secure Apple is actively aiding and abetting criminals. Apple’s just going to have to take the PR hit and stick to their guns. Apple knows — even if the police refuse to admit it — that if they make a phone weaker for one, they make it weaker for all.

    November 19, 2017
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Well said, John, Joseph, David.
    This is a re-run. The issue is getting bigger. We’ll soon have 10’s of billions of IoT devices, and in our lifetime, 100’s of billions. There no way to only allow the “good guys’ to hack.

    Beside the big headline hacks, we have an FBI agent “getting drunk, and In July, Robert Manson, a unit chief in the F.B.I.’s international terrorism section, had his Glock .40-caliber handgun, a $6,000 Rolex.. stolen”. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/us/politics/fbi-stolen-gun-stolen-charlotte.html.

    Earlier the year, an FBI Agent stole confiscated Bitcoins. I on the side of law enforcement. They protect us. But we’re all human.

    November 19, 2017

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