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Tag: iPhone

FBI Off the Hook on Releasing Name of Vendor Who Unlocked iPhone in San Bernardino Case

IPhone 6

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge has decided that 100 percent transparency isn’t necessary when it comes to the FBI and the San Bernardino shooting.

The FBI does not have to reveal the identity of a vendor that helped it unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters in the 2015 San Bernardino terror attack, or the price it paid for the vendor’s services, a federal judge ruled, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In a summary judgment issued Saturday, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in the District of Columbia wrote that releasing the vendor’s name could be reasonably expect  “to cause harm to national security interests by limiting the FBI’s present and future ability to gain access to suspected terrorists’ phones.”

She also noted that the disclosure of the vendor’s identity would “risk disclosure of a law enforcement technique and create a reasonably expected risk of circumvention of the law.”

Judge: Details on How FBI Hacked into IPhone Are Public Information

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI does not have to publicly reveal how it hacked into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorists in an attack that killed 14 people, a federal judge has ruled.

On Saturday, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled against three media outlets that sued the FBI to reveal the mystery behind the hacking, Politico reports. 

Chutkan also ruled that the FBI does not have to reveal the cost or the company it hired to breaking into the phone.

At a news conference last year, then-FBI Director James Comey suggested that the cost to hire the company would exceed his salary for the remainder of his term – about $1.4 million.

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

New Special Agent in Charge of San Fransisco Division Played Key Role in iPhone Hack

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just two months before Jack Bennett became special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Francisco division in May, the 52-year-old played a key role in accessing the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.

Bennet was working at the FBI’s computer investigation lab in Quantico, Va., when the bureau received help from an outside company to hack into the iPhone, the Associated Press reports. 

“There wasn’t high fives, and there weren’t people singing down the hallways,” he recalled. “It was very much business. ‘OK, let’s move forward to the next steps. Let’s get on the phone. What do we need to do to purchase the tool?'”

Bennett, who has nearly 30 years of experience in law enforcement, has battled drug smuggling operations for the DEA before tackling child sex crimes and animal rights extremists for the FBI.

“The U.S. government sometimes loses sight of what is important to corporations … and privacy is incredibly important,” Bennett said during a recent interview at his office.

Orange County Register: Why FBI Should Disclose How iPhone Was Hacked

Apple-iphoneBy Editorial Board
Orange County Register

After the San Bernardino attack in December that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others, the FBI hired a private hacker to unlock the iPhone of one of the two dead terrorists. Perhaps the FBI learned some of Syed Rizwan Farook’s evil secrets. But it also created unsettling secrets of its own.

The mysteries left over from the episode start with these: Who is the unnamed private party the FBI paid to break the smartphone’s security device? How much taxpayer money did the agency pay?

News organizations that have been stiff-armed by the FBI in their Freedom of Information Act request now are suing the bureau for answers.

We hope they succeed. The public should be able to know more about how the FBI cracked the privacy safeguards on the terrorist’s Apple phone. This is about more than one investigation and one wrongdoer’s phone – it’s about the threat that the government’s ability to break into electronic devices could pose to anybody’s online privacy and safety, especially if the tools fell into the wrong hands.

As stated in the lawsuit – filed last week by the Associated Press, the Gannett media company and the Vice Media digital and broadcasting company – “Understanding the amount that the FBI deemed appropriate to spend on the tool, as well as the identity and reputation of the vendor it did businesses with, is essential for the public to provide effective oversight of government functions and help guard against potential improprieties.”

To read more click here. 

Judge Forces Woman to Unlock iPhone with Fingerprints, But It Doesn’t Work

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When the FBI couldn’t open an iPhone in Los Angeles, a judge made the controversial decision to let the bureau force a woman to unlock the phone with her fingerprints.

But it didn’t work, CNN reports. 

The case involves Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan, the girlfriend of an accused gangster. 

“They forced her to use all 10 fingers to unlock the phone. But it didn’t unlock the phone,” said George G. Mgdesyan, the attorney who represented the couple.

Turns out, the Touch ID feature expires if it’s not used within 48 hours.

When that didn’t work, the FBI tried another route.

“They asked for a password. She said, ‘It’s not my phone,'” Mgdesyan explained.

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 Actually Paid Less Than $1.3M to Unlock San Bernardino iPhone

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Despite a suggestion from FBI Director James Comey that it cost the FBI about $1.3 million to unlock an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, the price tag was a lot more inexpensive.

Business Insider report that the FBI paid under $1 million for the technology to unlock the phone.

Investigators won’t need to pay extra money to use the technology to open other iPhone 5C models running on iOS9.

The FBI paid a contractor to bypass the phone’s encryption features.