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For a case that was so highly-publicized and vehemently defended as the FBI’s latest probe into San Bernardino, California, terror suspect, Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c was, we would expect at least something, anything of moral or intelligible value to have emerged from the depths of that hot-button handset, right?
Well, unfortunately for the FBI, according to a recent report, agents employed by the government intelligence agency have yet to unearth any useful information from the data tucked away in the files of that high-profile iPhone 5c.
As first reported by CBS News, although the FBI’s analysis of the handset is still ongoing, several law enforcement officials with knowledge of the case’s current status have revealed that not a single droplet of information extracted from the hacked iPhone has revealed anything of value in the case.
This news, originally reported yesterday by CBS, comes less than a week after FBI lawyer, James A. Baker, defensively refused to comment in regards to whether or not FBI agents have so far discovered anything “useful” hidden within the iPhone 5c belonging to Farook.
As Baker indicated, however: “It was worth the fight to make sure that we have turned over every rock that we can with respect to the investigation. We owe it to the victims and the families to make sure that we pursue every logical lead.”
That is very true, Mr. Baker — very true, indeed, though perhaps understandably defeating.
If you don’t recall what exactly has transpired in this case, just know that, back in February, Apple was ordered by a district court judge to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone 5c belonging to Farook — although, citing the security precedent and implications of creating a so called “back door” to its own operating system, Apple initially refused to do that. Nevertheless, government officials persisted, following suit with perhaps one of the most high-profile, highly publicized media campaigns in Apple’s recent history.
Ultimately, however, the device was broken into via the assistance of an unaffiliated, 3rd party group of hackers who confronted the FBI with a viable workaround.
Boom. Case closed, right?
Well, no, not necessarily.. There is this otherwise bittersweet news, of course — which is perhaps more of a blow to the FBI than any other party involved. And while Apple, though at first a bit curious, ultimately indicated that it will not inquire of the FBI as to how the iPhone 5c was accessed, nor can the FBI even tell Apple if it wanted to, the Silicon Valley tech-giant still faces somewhat of an uphill battle.
For instance, as current legislation makes its way through congress, laws may one day be passed requiring compliance between big-name tech-giants, such as Apple, and federal government agencies — if and when the need for compliance to retrieve valuable data arises.
And that shouldn’t be too surprising, after all, seeing as how the FBI has already assisted — and will likely continue to assist — state and local authorities break into password protected smartphones as determinable by law and statute.
What are your thoughts about the FBI not finding any relevant data in Farook’s iPhone 5c? Was this whole case blown out of proportion, or, as Mr. Baker insisted, was it worth the fight regardless of the ultimate outcome? Let us know in the comments below.
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