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FBI to Unlock iPhone in Arkansas Case

  • VOA News

A man holds up his iPhone during a rally in support of data privacy outside an Apple store in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 23, 2016. Protesters lashed out at a government order requiring Apple to help unlock an encrypted iPhone.

A man holds up his iPhone during a rally in support of data privacy outside an Apple store in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 23, 2016. Protesters lashed out at a government order requiring Apple to help unlock an encrypted iPhone.

A local prosecutor says the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations has agreed to assist Arkansas prosecutors in unlocking an Apple iPhone and iPod tied to a murder investigation.

The agreement comes just days after the FBI announced it had gained access to an iPhone linked to the gunman in last year's mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

Faulkner County, Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said the FBI agreed to help his office gain access to the devices of two teens accused in the killing of Robert and Patricia Cogdell. The FBI has not commented. The couple was killed in July at their home north of the capital, Little Rock.

On Tuesday, an Arkansas judge agreed to postpone the trial of 18-year-old Hunter Drexler so prosecutors could ask the FBI for help.

The FBI announced on Monday that it accessed the phone used by gunman Syed Farook using an unknown method from an outside source, subsequently ending the legal fight between the government and Apple, the phone's maker.

The government had sought to require Apple to write new software programs to help investigators get the data without knowing the iPhone’s password.

Authorities have not said whether the Apple devices in the Arkansas case are the same models as Farook's or whether they will use the same method to crack them open.

Prosecutors in the Arkansas case have indicated that the suspects used the devices to communicate about their murder plan.

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