The FBI found a way to hack into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone after Apple refused to comply with a court order, the ACLU found a long list of cases where the FBI is trying to force Apple help unlock iPhones, and now it's using the undisclosed hack to unlock an iPhone in an Arkansas homicide investigation. So much for just this phone, just this once.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released an interactive map Wednesday documenting dozens of cases across the U.S. in which the government has invoked the All Writs Act to compel Apple and Google to help access locked devices. Combined, they show use of this 1789 law is wide-spread and far reaching.
The FBI found a way into Syed Farook's iPhone and dropped its fight to force Apple to create a hackable version of iOS. The real winner here isn't the FBI or Apple, it's Suncorp—Cellebrite's parent company—who's stock jumped 40 percent in the week since the government said an outside party was helping hack into the iPhone.
Remember that thing where the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice said (repeatedly) that the effort to force Apple to create a backdoor into iOS was only about "one phone?" The DOJ put that fairy tale to bed Tuesday, telling Ars Technica that it would continue to (try to) use the court system to coerce cooperation from tech companies to access encrypted information.
The FBI withdrew its demand for Apple to create a new operating system bypassing security protections on iPhones Monday, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) both issued statements saying the fight over privacy wasn't over. The EFF also asked the U.S. Department of Justice to disclose the method used to break into the work iPhone of Syed Farook to Apple.
Apple has asked for a delay in a New York court involving a drug dealer's iPhone. According to Reuters, Apple filed the request on Thursday arguing that if the FBI has a way to get into the work iPhone of dead terrorist Syed Farook, it may be able to use that method to get into the iPhone of the alleged drug dealer. If so, Apple argued, "it would eliminate the need for Apple's assistance."
FBI Director James Comey told reporters that "NAND mirroring" will be used to get into the work iPhone of dead terrorist Syed Farook, saying "It doesn't work."
The FBI has thrown a large wrinkle into its ongoing fight with Apple by requesting Tuesday's evidentiary hearing be vacated, or canceled. In a filing with the court, the government said an unidentified third party had stepped forward with a way of accessing the data on the iPhone of dead terrorist Syed Farook, and that if it works, Apple's help will no longer be needed.
The legal case between the FBI and Apple is very complex, both legally and technically. Yet, the impact of the court's decision and appeals could have a major impact on the rights and freedoms of every American. Here's a simple FAQ that explains the basics at hand in plain English.
Richard Clarke, former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism for the United States, strongly condemned the FBI's efforts to force Apple to weaken iPhone encryption. In an interview with NPR, Mr. Clarke said that the FBI was wrong on encryption and was more interested in setting a precedent in its efforts against Apple than it was in actually accessing a work iPhone used by a dead terrorist.
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