Apple‘s tussle with the government over encrypted iPhones isn’t completely over yet but things have mellowed down somewhat. All the hoopla, mudslinging, and accusations, not to mention money, might have been for naught, however. According to an insider source on the side of law enforcement, the now hacked iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter has so far not produced any of the juicy information that the FBI alleges the smartphone holds, the very reason it took Apple to court in the first place.
The FBI has repeatedly insisted that the iPhone 5c of Syed Farook, one of two shooters who killed 14 people last December, could hold valuable information, including names and further plans, related to the incident. The problem was that the iPhone remained locked from the FBI, partly its own fault, which led to asking a court to order Apple to unlock the device.
Even before the case between Apple and the FBI was eventually dropped, the husband of one of the shooting’s survivors sent a letter to the court arguing that the iPhone couldn’t have held any such information. The iPhone was practically government issued, so Farook couldn’t have had any expectation of privacy.
All the legal and media arguments for or against the matter were eventually rendered pointless when the FBI revealed that it was able to purchase a tool that could hack into the iPhone without Apple’s assistance. Initially, forensic company Cellebrite’s name was dragged into the controversy, but the FBI clarified that it was a hacker group that sold the tool for a one-time payment.
The FBI remains coy on whether it found anything or not, saying it was too early to tell. At the same time, the agency says it is also undecided whether or not to reveal what it had gleaned, if any at all. Given how things are supposedly proceeding, the FBI might actually never publicly confirm or deny anything at this point.
SOURCE: CBS News