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Tag: iphones

FBI Forensic Expert Calls Apple ‘Jerks’ for Impossible-to-Crack iPhones

By Steve Neavling

You can excuse Stephen Flatley for calling Apple “jerks” and “evil geniuses” for building notoriously impossible-to-crack iPhones.

After all, the tech company has made work exceedingly difficult for the FBI forensic expert and his colleagues who are tasked with trying to access suspects’ cellphones.

Speaking at the International Conference on Cyber Security in Manhattan last Wednesday, Flatley said investigators are bedeviled by the iPhones’ increasingly powerful encryption, Motherboard reports. In fact, the cryptography has become so strong that not even Apple can break into a locked mobile.

“At what point is it just trying to one up things and at what point is it to thwart law enforcement?” Flatley asked. “Apple is pretty good at evil genius stuff.”

A day earlier, FBI Director Christopher Wray renewed calls for Apple to ease up on default encryption settings because they hinder investigators’ ability to collect evidence from a criminal’s iPhone.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the FBI has been unable to access data from nearly 7,800 devices.

“This is an urgent public safety issue,” Wray said.

But tech companies and digital security experts have said more lax encryption would harm internet security and enable malicious hackers.

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


By Allan Lengel

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.