FBI: It's 'Simply Too Early' to Tell if Info on San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone is Valuable

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation is still working on analyzing the information found on the iPhone of San Bernardino Shooter Syed Farook, reports The Wall Street Journal. FBI general counsel James Baker shared news on the iPhone earlier today at the International Association of Privacy Professionals conference, where he said it's too early to tell if the data on the device is useful.

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"We're now doing an analysis of that data, as we would in any other type of criminal terrorism investigation,'' Mr. Baker said, adding: "That means we would follow logical leads." But because the agency has only had access to the data for a short period of time, he said "it's simply too early'' to say whether anything found on the phone has been valuable to investigators.

After a very public legal battle in which the FBI obtained a court order demanding Apple help the government unlock the iPhone used by Farook in a December shooting in San Bernardino, the Justice Department last week announced it had found an alternate method to gain access to the iPhone in question and dropped the lawsuit.

While the FBI has not shared how it was able to unlock the iPhone, nor shared details on what was found, it is believed Israeli mobile software developer Cellebrite, a company that offers "mobile forensic solutions," was enlisted to break into the device.

According to Baker, the FBI has not decided whether or not it will divulge details on what was found on the iPhone and will not make a decision on whether to do so until the full analysis is complete on both the device and the cracking tool used to unlock it.

It remains unclear if the hacking method used to break into the iPhone is only viable for the iPhone 5c used by Farook, but in a previous piece, The Wall Street Journal said the FBI is testing to see if it can be used to unlock other versions of the iPhone.

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Top Rated Comments

keysofanxiety Avatar
108 months ago
In other words: "We found nothing, we knew we'd find nothing, and we just wanted to use the threat of terrorism to set a precedent where we could legally hack any device we wanted. Unfortunately for us, the public weren't as stupid as we thought, and wouldn't go along with it."
Score: 92 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ProjectManager101 Avatar
108 months ago
Any jealousy girl can figure out the "data" of her boyfriend's iPhone in a few seconds.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DaveN Avatar
108 months ago
'Still too early' after all this time is code for 'We haven't found anything remotely useful. We hope people forget about this before we announce that nothing useful was on the phone.'
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Z400Racer37 Avatar
108 months ago
So no.. After all that..
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pubwvj Avatar
108 months ago
In translation: the information on the iPhone was useless but we don't want to admit we wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on this or that we were wrong.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
azentropy Avatar
108 months ago
I'll be very surprised if they find anything. They tried to destroyed other phones, hard drives etc., why didn't they destroy this one? Because it doesn't contain anything.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)