It’s been a few years since the Apple vs FBI case, where The FBI asked Apple if they could create a backdoor into their operating system for law enforcement to easily access iPhone data.
Apple, famously said no, that creating a backdoor would wreak havoc if left in the wrong hands. Today, Reuters reports that lawmakers believe that the FBI wasn’t trying hard enough, noting that the firm took the easy route.
Last month, a report from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog found that the FBI didn’t exhaust all its options to unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone before attempting to force Apple to help do so. The FBI didn’t consult its own internal experts or outside vendors before going to court, and the poor coordination resulted in the FBI withdrawing its legal efforts when an outside vendor eventually accessed the device.
Lawmakers are raising concerns that the FBI didn’t “exhaust the agency’s technical options” and that it went directly for the suite because it wanted to get something out of Apple.
Reuters points to the recent reports regarding security vendors such as Cellebrite and GrayShift, who unlock iPhones on a daily basis. It says that the FBI has a ‘Going Dark’ problem.
“Going Dark” refers to law enforcement officials’ inability to read data on encrypted devices and services such as Apple’s iPhones or messaging services like Signal. The FBI says it has some 7,800 devices inaccessible due to encryption.
Earlier this week we reported that local police departments are now getting their hands on devices from GrayShift. It seems odd that the FBI wasn’t able to gain access to such a device and seems to corroborate the Reuters report that the FBI was simply trying to find a permanent backdoor solution from Apple.