Forbes has uncovered a search warrant that strongly indicates the feds have access to a tool that can grab data on the latest, and most secure, iPhones. Naturally, this lead to questions about the FBI’s motivations over demanding Apple help it unlock the iPhones of the Islamic terrorist suspect in the recent Pensacola, Florida attack.
Last year, FBI investigators in Ohio used a hacking device called a GrayKey to draw data from the latest Apple model, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The phone belonged to Baris Ali Koch, who was accused of helping his convicted brother flee the country by providing him with his own ID documents and lying to the police. He has now entered a plea agreement and is awaiting sentencing.
Forbes confirmed with Koch’s lawyer, Ameer Mabjish, that the device was locked. Mabjish also said he was unaware of any way the investigators could’ve acquired the passcode; Koch had not given it to them nor did they force the defendant to use his face to unlock the phone via Face ID, as far as the lawyer was aware. The search warrant document obtained by Forbes, dated October 16 2019, also showed the phone in a locked state, giving the strongest indication yet that the FBI has access to a device that can acquire data from the latest iPhone.
Senator Wyden’s office told Forbes it has asked the Department of Justice to explain why it is making public demands for backdoors if it has already used the tool to access the newest iPhones… It isn’t just the FBI’s motivations that are being called into question — both President Trump and Attorney General William Barr have also urged the tech giant to assist.
MacDailyNews Take: Perhaps the FBI et al. are demanding Apple “do something” simply for political gain, to bolster a narrative of strength, i.e. “we care, we’ll protect you, we’re strong on terrorists,” etcetera?
If this isn’t just political posturing, then the U.S. government obviously isn’t as interested in what’s on this latest terrorist’s iPhones as it is in trying to force Apple to provide a backdoor with a master key to unlock iPhones. If not playing politics, then the U.S. government is being duplicitous as it wants the ability to get into every iPhone for whatever reason, valid or otherwise. That’s their goal.
It’s obvious that the U.S. government’s full court press is now on from officials far and wide. We expect Apple to stand firm, weather the onslaught, and, ultimately, if need be, take this issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin