The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), James Comey, told a group of students recently that his bureau is unable to unlock an iPhone released after the iPhone 5c. This should likely be taken with a grain of salt, but that’s what he says.
Unlocking a phone newer than the iPhone 5c – FBI director makes the announcement
Speaking in front of a group of students and educators at Kenyon College in Ohio, James Comey told them that the FBI doesn’t have the ability to unlock a phone beyond the iPhone 5c. Whether there is any truth to this is anyone’s guess.
Clearly, the remarks were made as a continuation of the battle between the FBI and Apple. As I’m guessing you know, the FBI asked Apple to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernandino shooters only for Apple to refuse. That led to a federal judge ordering Apple to comply only to be met with another refusal in the form of an open letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The gloves came off following the open letter and the public was dragged into the fight over privacy versus security with most in Silicon Valley and others supporting Apple wholeheartedly and Donald Trump, who of course will force Apple to make iPhones in the United States, not surprising, siding with the FBI and federal government going so far as to question Apple’s patriotism.
But who cares what Donald Trump says, it’s all mouth rubbish.
FBI to share with Apple?
Back to the director, he told those in attendance that the FBI had had “purchased a tool” from a third party to unlock the iPhone in question. There were reports that the FBI had contacted Israeli security firm Cellebrite, but no word was given as to whether or not they were the “third party” from which the FBI made the purchase.
“This doesn’t work on 6S, doesn’t work on a 5S, and so we have a tool that works on a narrow slice of phones,” Comey said.
Comey was also coy about whether or not the Bureau would tell Apple about how they went about unlocking the shooter’s phone as Apple has repeatedly requested.
“We tell Apple, then they’re going to fix it, then we’re back where we started from,” he said. “We may end up there, we just haven’t decided yet.”