Back in April it was reported that the method in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation used to access an iPhone 5c would probably never be known by Apple. And now a new report has surfaced echoing those statements.
According to a report published recently by The Wall Street Journal, and citing sources with knowledge of the situation, the FBI will reportedly tell the White House that an independent government review of the method is pointless, as the FBI “knows so little” about the tools that were used to access the iPhone 5c used by one of the shooters at the San Bernardino event last year.
“The decision, and the technical and bureaucratic justification behind it, would likely keep Apple in the dark about whatever security gap exists on certain models of the company’s phones, according to people familiar with the discussions.”Reuters and quoting the FBI’s Director, James Comey, outlines that he believes there’s not enough information right now to take any steps, whether towards a review or not:
“We are in the midst of trying to sort that out,” Comey said. “The threshold (for disclosure) is, are we aware of the vulnerability, or did we just buy a tool and don’t have sufficient knowledge of the vulnerability to implicate the process?”
“We are close to a resolution.”
As the Reuters report points out, the aforementioned Vulnerabilities and Equities Process would actually not cover flaws that are discovered by private companies, which has been suggested as the methodology used by the FBI in the past. Corey’s statement would suggest that is indeed the case. And if that’s true, then Apple appears to be out of luck.
Apple and the Department of Justice have been in a battle, which grew to be very public, over encryption for quite some time. It’s recently been discovered that the FBI may have paid upwards of $1.3 million to access the iPhone 5c. While Apple has moved on with security and encryption, it’s also been said by the Director of the FBI that the unlocking method used to access the iPhone 5c does not work on any iPhone 5s model or later, but that it can be used to access an iPhone 5c and older — even if it’s running iOS 9.
For what it’s worth, Apple has also said it will not sue the FBI to discover the method used to unlock the iPhone 5c.[via The Wall Street Journal; Reuters]