FBI: We may not need Apple’s help with that iPhone, but we didn’t lie about it – Washington Post


FBI Director James Comey (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The government is pushing spine versus claims that it misled the public about needing Apple’s tips to break in to an iPhone used by among the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters.

“We tried every little thing we could believe of — asked everybody we believed could be able to tips inside and outside the government — prior to bringing the litigation in San Bernardino,” FBI Director James Comey said throughout a news conference Thursday.

He additionally wrote a letter Wednesday responding to a Wall Street Diary editorial criticizing the government’s handling of the case. “You are just wrong to assert that the FBI and the Justice Department lied concerning our ability to access the San Bernardino killer’s phone,” Comey said.

Instead, the focus to the case had spurred “creative individuals about the globe to see just what they could be able to do” to tips the agency Grab about the phone’s security features, he wrote. “Numerous people have actually come to us along with potential tips — it looks enjoy we now have actually one that could job out. We’re optimistic and we’ll see,” Comey said throughout the news conference.

On Monday, the Justice Department asked the court overseeing the dispute to delay a hearing set for the next day due to the fact that an “outside celebration demonstrated to the FBI a feasible means for unlocking” the iPhone in question over the weekend. The government asked for a lot more time to explore if they would certainly have the ability to usage the technique to get access to the device.

Until then, the government had asserted that it required Apple’s help. “[T]he undisputed evidence is that the FBI cannot unlock [San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan] Farook’s phone devoid of Apple’s assistance,” it wrote in a March 10 filing concerning the case.

But Apple disputed that point. In one filing, Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s manager of user privacy, argued that “past exploits that have actually bypassed the lock screen and the present-day honest truth of innumerable security firms, malicious actors, cybercriminals and potential adversaries” gained it unlikely that forcing Apple to write software to Grab about their own security features was the just means to Grab in to the iPhone.

Some outside security researchers and even members of Congress additionally appeared skeptical that the FBI had explored every one of its selections prior to taking Apple to court.

During a Home Judiciary Committee hearing at the start of the month, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) questioned Comey concerning whether the government had considered a feasible solution that would certainly involve making copies of the chip tied to the passcode mechanism and testing various combinations to unlock the phone outside of the actual device. That may, some researchers have actually suggested, steer clear of the risk of triggering a security measure that could for good lock the device if as well lots of incorrect pins are entered.

Comey appeared unfamiliar along with the means throughout his testimony then. Questioned concerning it on Thursday, he said, “It doesn’t work,” However that he was “optimistic” that the still unknown strategy that the agency is now testing would certainly be successful.

Issa said in a statement that the hearing postponement raised a lot more questions compared to answers. “It’s necessary that the government take all of actions feasible prior to asking for wide-reaching powers that would certainly dramatically impact the future of cybersecurity for years to come,” he said.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, along with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.

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