Unlocking iPhones is rapidly becoming old hat for the FBI and now they are offering assistance to other agencies in unlocking iPhones in their custody. The agency splashed itself and Apple across the news when it brought in a court order that would force Apple to crack it’s own encryption. Apple CEO Tim Cook pushed back and refused to comply with the FBI and its court order. Essentially the FBI was requesting Apple to build a backdoor into iOS which Apple argued could potentially put every iOS user at risk. The story has made it to international headlines and has sparked a debate over privacy and how much access a law enforcement agency should be allowed.
Throughout the drama several companies had stepped forward offering to break into the iPhone the FBI had in their possession. Finally the FBI took one company up on its offer and within a few days the phone was cracked and information extracted. The FBI has yet to reveal to Apple or anyone else what method they used but now they are offering to use that method to help other law enforcement agencies. While the method has yet to be known outside the FBI, some claim that it is just a matter of time before someone leaks that method which would put iOS users at risk. Some believe that the FBI should be sharing this method with Apple so that patches can be made. The FBI had this to say in regards to helping other agencies.
“We know that the absence of lawful, critical investigative tools due to the ‘Going Dark’ problem is a substantial state and local law enforcement challenge that you face daily. As has been our longstanding policy, the FBI will of course consider any tool that might be helpful to our partners. Please know that we will continue to do everything we can to help you consistent with our legal and policy constraints. You have our commitment that we will maintain an open dialogue with you. We are in this together.”
For its part, Apple has said it will continue to increase the security of their OS, whether or not this particularly exploit is fixed remains to be seen.
What do you think of the FBI unlocking phones for other local and federal agencies? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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