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Tag: apple

Apple Served Search Warrant for iPhone of Church Shooter, But Case Unlikely to Go Federal

Church shooter Devin Kelley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Texas law enforcement has served Apple with a search warrant for data stored on the blood-splattered iPhone used by the gunman in the Texas church shooting that killed 26 people earlier this month.

But the Washington Post reports it’s unlikely the FBI will take the case to federal court, like it did over the locked phone of a terrorist in San Bernardino, because authorities believe Devin Patrick Kelly acted alone and was not tied to terrorists. 

Nevertheless, Texas Rangers served a search warrant to obtain digital photos, messages, documents and other types of data from Kelly’s phone, a second mobile device found near his body and the gunman’s iCloud account, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

It’s unclear whether Apple will comply with the warrant or fight it like the company had in the San Bernardino case.

At the point, the feds are unlikely to make it a federal case.

“We do have a role in supporting the locals, but it’s not in FBI’s wheelhouse to run this case,‘‘ said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing. “It’s more of a local investigation at this point.”

FBI Missed Critical 48-Hour Window to Open Church Shooter’s iPhone

IPhone 6By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI failed to ask Apple to help unlock the iPhone of the Texas church shooter in the two days following the massacre that left 26 people dead.

Apple, which has refused to offer help unlocking encrypted phones in the past, said it offered to assist the FBI but agents never reached out, Business Insider reports

“Our team immediately reached out to the FBI after learning from their press conference Tuesday that investigators were trying to access a mobile phone,” Apple said in a statement. “We offered assistance and said we would expedite our response to any legal process they send us.”

The phone, instead, was sent to a lab for analysis.

As a result, the FBI lost 48 hours without locking the device by using the finger prints of the shooter, Devin Kelley, if the phone was fingerprint-access enabled.

That’s significant because iPhones locked with a fingerprint for 48 hours or more require the user’s passcode.

The FBI declined to comment.

Judge Refuses FBI Request to Force Potential Targets to Give Fingerprints to Unlock iPhones

fingerprint-smaller-version

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The battle over privacy and devices continues.

This time it’s taking place in Chicago.

A federal judge in Chicago has rejected a request by the FBI to force potential targets to provide fingerprints to unlock any iPhones or Apple devices in child pornography case, Jason Meisner and Steve Schmadeke of the Chicago Tribune report.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Weisman decision came in response to a request for a warrant to search a residence where investigators suspect someone was using the internet to traffic images of child pornography, the Trib reports. 

The Trib reports:

The prosecution filing seeking the search warrant on the FBI’s behalf remains under seal, but the judge’s opinion said the government requested “the authority to compel any individual who is present at the subject premises at the time of the search” to provide a fingerprint or thumbprint needed to unlock an Apple device.

Weisman, a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent, wrote in his 14-page opinion last month that the government hadn’t presented enough facts in its application that would justify such sweeping “intrusions,” including any specific information about those who might be living at the residence or their connection to the child pornography investigation.

FBI Wants to Hack into Another Encrypted iPhone Belonging to a Dead Man

Apple logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI may be headed for another legal showdown with Apple.

Eight months after the FBI asked a court to order Apple to help hack into the encrypted iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook, the bureau has obtained the iPhone of the man who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall, Wired reports. 

Tahir Adan’s phone is locked with a passcode, and FBI agents are still trying to access the contents.

“Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked,” FBI special agent Rich Thorton told reporters, “We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.”

Thornton didn’t reveal the model of iPhone or its operating system.

Apple declined to help the FBI break into Farook’s phone, prompting the bureau to hire an outside entity to access the phone.

Other Stories of Interest

How Apple Helped FBI Take Down World’s Largest Torrent Site

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While Apple was battling the FBI in court over unlocking an iPhone, the technology giant was quietly helping the FBI on another investigation.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Apple provided the FBI with records of the world’s largest torrent site.

Apple’s role led to the arrest of Ukranian national Artm Vaulin, who was charged with copyright infringement and money laundering.

“Apple’s involvement in the arrest of Vaulin shows its willingness to cooperate with the government on certain matters, particularly because Apple is a heavyweight in the music industry, even while holding the line against violating the security of millions of its consumers,” The Christian Science Monitor wrote. 

LAPD Unlocked an iPhone While FBI Was Struggling to Open Another

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While the FBI struggled to break into an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department managed to unlock an iPhone 5S, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

A “forensic cellphone expert” helped bypass the security features on an iPhone belonging to the deceased wife of The Shield actor Michael Jace. The actor is accused of killing his wife.

Detectives wanted to gain access to the phone because the pair allegedly had an argument via text message.

It’s unclear how detectives managed to open the phone.

The FBI sued Apple to force the company to open the phone but the feds dropped the case after the bureau paid under $1 million to a hacking group to unlock the phone.

FBI Paid At Least $1.3M to Unlock San Bernardino iPhone, Director Suggests

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An undisclosed group of hackers received at least $1.3 million to help the FBI unlock an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, the New York Times reports. 

FBI Director James Comey was asked at a technology conference in London on Thursday how much the bureau paid for the outside group.

“Let’s see, more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months, for sure,” Comey said.

Comey makes about $185,000 a year – or $1.35 million for the remainder of his 10-year term.

The FBI had been unwilling to disclose the amount spent on unlocking the phone and declined to comment on the specific cost.

FBI Finds Useful Information on Unlocked iPhone of San Bernardino Shooter

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is making progress after cracking an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino killers.

Fortune reports that the phone reveals Syad Farook likely did not coordinate with another plotter.

The phone has been at the center of a heated debate over privacy and encryption.

After Apple refused to help open the iPhone, the FBI found help from professional hackers.

The FBI continues to search the phone for evidence.