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Late last July, the media was all over a story about two 14 year old boys from Florida who were thought to be lost at sea during a routine outing together in their boat one afternoon.
Despite an exacerbating 8-day, 50,000 nautical mile search effort, and weeks of hoping, praying, and wishing for signs of life to emerge from the waters, the search was called off — with both Austin Stephanos and his comrade, Perry Cohen, determined to have drowned at sea. It was a sad, sad tale, indeed. One, unfortunately, which has been long forgotten by purveyors of the mainstream media, though is likely still fresh in the minds of the Cohen and Stephanos families.
Fortunately for the latter, however, there appears to be a bit of good news coming out of South Florida this week.
It appears that a little over a month ago, the boat they were traveling in was discovered, capsized, roughly 100 miles off the coast of Bermuda. Oddly enough, one of the boy’s iPhones was also recovered from the capsized fishing boat — although, perhaps understandably, the device is inaccessible due to extensive water damage.
While the family has vacillated, for about the last month, over what course of action to follow in their attempts to retrieve data from Austin Stephanos’ iPhone, Apple has quietly stepped up to the plate, offering its hard in helping the family get into Austin’s badly damaged device.
Austin’s father, Blu Stephanos, had the following to say in a public statement on the matter: “We’ve been working with the phone’s manufacturer who seems willing to help us try to get the phone operational again. That would be the first order of business, since Austin’s phone has been submerged in salt water for over eight months. We’ve also had an IT expert access the phone’s cloud backup and, unfortunately, found that it had never been enabled.”
Some might argue that Apple would be breaching even its own standards of security by intervening in this case. However, the families are not necessarily asking Apple for a “back door” to break into iOS — as was the case with the iPhone 5c belonging to San Bernardino, CA, terror suspect, Syed Rizwan Farook; but rather, simply assistance getting the device back into functional, operational condition — where it can be accessed to determine, if at all possible, what the last minutes of the boy’s lives might have entailed.
So yeah, to some this move may seem a bit off taste — particularly in light of Apple’s staunch, immovable stance on encryption and emphasis on privacy they’ve been standing behind lately. However, if they’re ultimately able to help these families access the iPhone, retrieve valuable data, and, at the least, get a little bit of closure in this ongoing ordeal, we definitely think it’s a novel move on Apple’s end.
What are your thoughts about Apple helping these families gain access to their deceased sons’ iPhones? Let us know in the comments!