Following the November shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the FBI found itself facing an all-too-familiar problem: The shooter’s mobile device, a key data repository storing information that could potentially aid the agency’s investigation, was locked with an unbreakable encryption.

The problem was reminiscent of one the agency faced after the 2015 San Bernardino, California, shooting, where the gunman’s iPhone was also encrypted. The situation led to the U.S. Department of Justice seeking court orders to force Apple Inc. to hack its own device.

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