Judge orders Apple to help unlock iPhone 5c of San Bernardino’s shooter

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 17 Feb 2016


A federal judge has ordered Apple to help FBI in unlocking and decrypting the iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple had earlier “declined to provide voluntarily” assistance to government agencies.

The prosecutors argued that Apple declined to help the government in finding “relevant, critical….data” on the locked iPhone 5c of Syed Farook, despite having a warrant authorising the search. This led the prosecutors to file an appeal in the court, which they ultimately won.

The judge ruled Tuesday that the Cupertino-based company had to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the government in recovering data from the iPhone 5c, including bypassing the auto-erase function and allowing investigators to submit an unlimited number of passwords in their attempts to unlock the phone. Apple has five days to respond to the court if it believes that compliance would be “unreasonably burdensome.”

Apple has reiterated multiple times before that it is impossible for it to unlock an iOS device running iOS 8 or higher, since it has stopped storing the decryption keys needed to unlock the passcode.

Apparently, FBI has managed to get their hands on iCloud backups of Syed’s iPhone 5c, and want Apple to disable a feature that automatically erases the iPhone’s data after a certain specified number of failed login attempts. It is still unclear if Apple will be able to help the government agencies here or not.

[Via NBC News]