In a shooting case, FBI investigators ended up successfully breaking through the protection of two iPhones without Apple's help. A job that took months, angering the American authorities.
Between Apple and the FBI, positions remain irreconcilable over the thorny subject of iPhone encryption. Because the Cupertino company has made the protection of its customers a top priority on which it refuses to compromise, it comes up against investigations by the police, who sometimes need to access the content of such and such a device to confirm or deny their suspicions.
Today, the two parties express their disagreement on the case of the shooting which took place on December 6, 2019 on the naval air base in Pensacola, Florida, which left four dead, including the gunman , and eight injured. The killer was a Saudi airman apprentice, sent for training. During the investigation, two iPhone models were found, but locked and encrypted.
The affair has already led to arms deals between Apple and the American authorities, especially at the start of the year. Donald Trump too got involved, with his own style: he screamed on Twitter. She has just experienced a recent rebound, as noted by the Wall Street Journal, since the FBI ended up succeeding in cracking the two iPhones on its own, not without difficulty, because it took her months.
With this advance, the FBI was able to discover the existence of links between the military and Al Qaida. These elements were exposed at a press conference on May 18, which was attended by Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, and William P. Barr, the Attorney General of the United States. And during their presentation, the two men took the opportunity to put a layer on Apple.
Apple takes a blower from the authorities
" Thanks to the FBI's great work – not Apple – we were able to unlock the phones "Said William P. Barr, even if it took months of hard work and, above all, taxpayer dollars, reports The Verge. In the background, the United States government could have saved time and money if Apple had been a little more responsible.
" Without the FBI's ingenuity, luck, endless time and resources, this information would not have been discovered. In summary, our national security cannot remain in the hands of large corporations that prioritize money over legal access and public safety. The time has come to find a legislative solution ", He added, suggesting a future law to reframe encryption.
Pointing out a company policy having according to him dangerous consequences for public safety and national security "William P. Barr said" unacceptable "To leave it to a private group to define what should be the balance between different issues. Just as it is unacceptable to make an iPhone an impenetrable black box to which justice would not have access.
" Thanks to the FBI's great work – not Apple – we were able to unlock the phones "
" Apple's desire to guarantee customer privacy is understandable, but not at all costs ", He continued. Above all, this subject cannot be left in the hands of a corporate board of directors or one person. In short, it is up to the legislator to decide on these subjects, as an emanation of the national will, and not to a society, however popular it may be.
For his part, Christopher Wray castigated the time lost and the energy spent unnecessarily on a file which could have advanced much faster, because his services had obtained from justice a warrant authorizing the search of the smartphones. " Public servants are already overwhelmed with important things to do to protect people ", he said. Clearly, no need to add sticks in the wheels.
Apple disputes this presentation of the facts
If Apple has indeed not weakened the protections of the iPhone for this investigation, it turns out that the Cupertino company was not satisfied with being a spectator of the case. She also reiterated, following this press conference, that she had provided material to the FBI on the day of the shooting, including file backups to iCloud, account information and transaction data.
" On this case and thousands of others, we continue to work around the clock with the FBI "Said the group, which said it had no difficulty supporting the task of the police. However, touching on encryption is out of the question, " which protects millions of users and national security " Especially on these bases: Apple rejects the words of William P. Barr and Christopher Wray, who are qualified as “ false allegations " The reconciliation of points of view is not won.