Police Swamp Apple With Requests to Decrypt Seized iPhones

Police Swamp Apple With Requests to Decrypt Seized iPhones

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Law Enforcement agencies have always had trouble retrieving data off passcode enabled iPhone's, and therefore turn to Apple's assistance for help on bypassing the code. Apparently, Apple receives so many police requests to decrypt and unlock seized iPhones, that it has created a "waiting list" to handle the demand.

As reported by CNET, an agent at ATF contacted Apple to obtain assistance in unlocking the device, but was placed on a waiting list by the company. The agent had previously searched for months trying to find " a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency with the forensic capabilities to unlock" an iPhone 4S. Once placed on the waiting list, the agent was told there would be at least a seven week delay.

The ATF's Rob Maynard said in an affidavit for the Kentucky case that Apple "has the capabilities to bypass the security software" and "download the contents of the phone to an external memory device." Chang, the Apple legal specialist, told him that "once the Apple analyst bypasses the passcode, the data will be downloaded onto a USB external drive" and delivered to the ATF.

It's not clear whether that means Apple has created a backdoor for police -- which has been the topic of speculation in the past -- whether the company has custom hardware that's faster at decryption, or whether it simply is more skilled at using the same procedures available to the government. Apple declined to discuss its law enforcement policies when contacted this week by CNET.

Apple specifically states in its privacy policy that it may disclose personal information "by law, legal process, litigation, and/or requests from public and governmental authorities within or outside your country of residence"

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Police Swamp Apple With Requests to Decrypt Seized iPhones

jj - May 11, 2013 at 11:14am
Ryan - May 11, 2013 at 12:13am
All data in under 5 mins from simple google search download and installation of phone view .
Rod - May 10, 2013 at 7:48pm
Seems lazy on law enforcement part. There are desktop applications that let you browse iOS file system regardless of passcode already out there.
Jim Bob - May 12, 2013 at 2:29am
No so. The best ones are somewhat expensive, and require support contracts. What I think they are doing, is flooding them so they give them a tool instead. Like a LE, the tap is on the network, and LEAs just get access when they need. If the algorythm isn't exposed, but a tool is created so LEAs get access as required, they'd be happy. SW companies catoring to LEAs won't be. Neither would crooks be, but this as always been a cat and mouse game, they'll use 4096 bits encryption of their sand box, 5 factor auth and auto destructs. ;)
JoshvanHulst - May 10, 2013 at 6:02pm
I hope they never gain access to my data! That is not their's to view!!!
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