FBI Briefing Senators on How It Accessed San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

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The FBI has begun telling some U.S. Senators how it accessed the data on San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook's iPhone 5c, according to The National Journal (via CNET). Previously, the FBI has been coy on how it accessed the data on the phone and hasn't communicated the exploit used to Apple.

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California Senator Diane Feinstein, the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, confirmed to CNET that she was briefed on the method used by the FBI. North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has been invited to an FBI briefing but has not yet accepted, according to The National Journal. The two Senators are co-sponsors on a bill that would force companies to comply with court orders to unlock encrypted communication services.

That bill is reportedly set to be introduced to Congress as soon as this week, and both Burr and Feinstein told The National Journal that the FBI should not tell Apple how it accessed the data on Syed Farook's iPhone.

"I don't be­lieve the gov­ern­ment has any ob­lig­a­tion to Apple," Fein­stein said in a state­ment emailed to the National Journal. "No com­pany or in­di­vidu­al is above the law, and I'm dis­mayed that any­one would re­fuse to help the gov­ern­ment in a ma­jor ter­ror­ism in­vest­ig­a­tion."

When the FBI first mentioned that it had found a "possible method" to obtain the data from the iPhone, Apple said that it would insist on obtaining the details of the exploit should the government pursue its case against the Cupertino company. However, since the case was dropped, there is little legal recourse for Apple to attain that information. The FBI reportedly turned to Israeli firm Cellebrite to unlock the phone. Shortly after the Justice Department dropped the case, Apple issued a statement saying it would "continue to increase the security" of its products.

Yesterday, FBI general counsel James Baker said that the data on the iPhone was being analyzed and that it was "simply too soon to tell" whether the information is valuable.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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60 months ago
Perhaps Feinstein should also accept that Apple doesn't have any obligation to serve as a forensics arm of the state.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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60 months ago
Translation of Feinstein's remark: "Anyone who doesn't give the government what they want can go **** themselves."

Spoken like the entitled brat she is who has been in public office far too long.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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60 months ago
"I'm dismayed that anyone would refuse to help the government in a major terrorism investigation."

I would be dismayed too had it just been for one phone but it wasn't.

Feinstein should read more.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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60 months ago

Ahhh, like most liberals Diane is parroting their philosophy, id est - "We are smarther/better/more civilized than you, and we can run your life for you better than you can run it yourself. Submit to our benevolent paternity."

"Ahh, like most liberals..."
Sadly, one could say you're simply "parroting" easy to copy 'talking points' with little to no knowledge about facts of the situation. Every Republican prez nominee said Apple should yield to the FBI 'demands' to create software to bypass ten try defeat. Why not just deal with iPhone and the issues at hand instead of your "id est"-ing your personal agenda?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago
I'm actually in agreement with the FBI this time, I don't feel they need to explain how they got in to the iPhone anymore than Apple should have been forced to create a backdoor for the FBI.

In my mind this is exactly how the game should be played. Apple now need to up their game to work out how it was done.

That said, I have my reservations that the FBI have even got in to the iPhone. Wouldn't surprise me at all if they were just claiming success to save face. /tinfoilhat ;)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago
Ahhh, like most liberals Diane is parroting their philosophy, id est - "We are smarther/better/more civilized than you, and we can run your life for you better than you can run it yourself. Submit to our benevolent paternity."
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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