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After scouring perhaps the most famous phone in the world, San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c, the FBI has concluded that they received useful information from the search. What did they find? Well, nothing really.
CNN reported yesterday that no real relevant information was found on the phone – there was no evidence that the phone was used to contact other ISIS supporters, nor was there any encrypted communication that was sent immediately after the terrorist attack. Although no new information was found, the FBI still values the information.
According to CNN, “the FBI views that information as valuable to the probe, possibilities it couldn’t discount without getting into the phone.” One of the largest areas of concern to the FBI was the 18-minute period directly after the attack, in which the shooter seemed to aimlessly drive around the San Bernardino area – the FBI wanted access to the phone to make sure the shooter hadn’t made contact with friends, family, or other ISIS supporters during that period.
The FBI had spent nearly two months attempting to hack into the iPhone, with the Justice Department taking Apple to court in February in an attempt to force Apple to create a custom version of iOS, disabling several key security measures in order to access the phone. Apple denied the motion, claiming that the software would put the privacy of all iPhone users at risk, and calling the motion a “dangerous precedent” that could be used in future cases. In March, the FBI paid a third-party for a “tool” that allowed them to gain access to the phone.
Although gaining access to the phone didn’t actually reveal any information relevant to the investigation, they considered the ability to rule out any contact to other parties immediately after the shooting “valuable to the probe.” According to CNN, however, the data recovered from the phone “is still being analyzed and more leads are being followed.”
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