If only the FBI had known earlier, they probably would have consulted the Indian government to help them unlock the San Bernadico shooter’s iPhone, it would have saved them several months of struggle with Apple over unlocking Syed’s iPhone 5c. Apparently the Indian government has the required tool needed to handle encrypted smartphones, including the iPhone. Responding a to a question on encryption, India’s communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said;
A tool for mobile forensics has been developed, which handles smart phones including Apple phones.
He also said that research and development activity is also being carried out on a continuous basis to upgrade tools and technologies with the emerging new devices and software, which includes smartphones. Prasad didn’t reveal details about how the tool works.
The FBI–Apple encryption dispute concerns whether and to what extent courts in the United States can compel manufacturers to assist in unlocking cell phones whose contents are cryptographically protected. There is much debate over public access to strong encryption.
Earlier this year, FBI had taken Apple to court to force it to unlock the encrypted iPhone 5c used by one of two terrorists involved in a December attack in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead and injured 22. The two attackers later died in a shootout with police, having first destroyed their personal phones. The work phone was recovered intact but was locked with a four-digit password and was set to eliminate all its data after ten failed password attempts. Apple refused to assist the FBI. The battle ended in late March 28 when the FBI got a tool from a third party to bypass the phone’s security, although nothing useful has been found on the terrorist iPhone, the content of that phone is still being examined by the FBI, in the hope of finding some information.