While officials have been busy hacking into Apple devices related to criminal cases, a grieving father has written to CEO Tim Cook pleading for him to unlock his dead son’s iPhone so he can get photographs that are stuck in the device.
Fabretti wrote to Apple on March 21, but has not yet received a response.
The father’s request comes at a time when Apple and the FBI are at odds over privacy. When Apple refused to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, at the request of the FBI, the feds eventually found a third party to hack into the phone. The FBI has also since agreed to help unlock an iPhone and iPod in an Arkansas murder case.
“Don’t deny me the memories of my son,” said Italian architect Leonardo Fabbretti after repeated failed attempts to access his 13-year-old’s device, according to AFP.
His son, Dama, was adopted from Ethiopia in 2007, and was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2013 after a skiing accident. He died last year in September after numerous operations and chemotherapy treatments.
“I cannot give up. Having lost my Dama, I will fight to have the last two months of photos, thoughts and words which are held hostage in his phone,” he said in the letter.
The father said he had given his son an iPhone six nine months before he passed away. Fabretti said he had added his fingerprint ID to the phone, but it did not work after the phone was turned off and on.
Meanwhile, he said that Apple should offer solutions for “exceptional” cases like his.
Fabretti, who lives near Perugia in central Italy, said he had reached out to Israeli mobile forensics firm, Cellebrite, that supposedly helped U.S. authorities hack the phone in the San Bernardino case.
The father said Cellebrite had offered to try to and open his son’s device for free, according to AFP.
Fabretti said that if Apple is not willing to unlock the phone, he suggested the company make a charitable donation in Dama’s country of origin, Ethiopia, or set up a grant so researchers can study issues concerning privacy.