After several months of struggle between the FBI and Apple over unlocking Syed’s iPhone, “nothing of real significance” was found on it. CBS News reports that it has been told by a law enforcement “that so far nothing of real significance has been found on the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone”.
The FBI spent months trying to access the iPhone used by the San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, believing it might hold more details regarding the attack and others involved, although the contents of the device are still analyzed, so far nothing has been found. This didn’t come as a surprise, even before the iPhone was unlocked some suggested that the device may not have any important information on it, besides, this is just one of the three phones used by Syed and also his work phone which was owned by his employer. The other two phones belonging to him were found by investigators but were already destroyed and thrown in a trash can at his house. That his iPhone was recovered intact could mean it didn’t have any information of real value in it.
Earlier on Apple had refused to assist the FBI unlock Syed Farook’s iPhone, Syed and his wife Tashfeen Malikwere were involved in the deadly terrorist attack as a result of which 14 people were killed and 22 seriously injured. Apple says unlocking the iPhone may put iPhone users at risk especially when the wrong people get a hold of the method used. After a huge public debate between the FBI and Apple in which Apple refused to give in, the FBI suddenly announced it had found a third party that would assist them into unlocking the iPhone.
Although the FBI never disclosed what method it used to access the data on the iPhone, it was said that the method doesn’t work for newer iPhone models “We have a tool that works on a narrow slice of phones”, this implies that it only works with an iPhone 5C running iOS 9 or older iPhones.
If we tell Apple, they’re going to fix it and we’re back where we started. As silly as it may sound, we may end up there. We just haven’t decided yet.
The method not being compatible with other devices was a huge relief to many because it was believed that perhaps the same tool could be used to access other iPhones as well. According to Reuters it is “highly unlikely the technique will be disclosed by the government to Apple or any other entity.” This is because “The company that helped the FBI unlock a San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone to get data has sole legal ownership of the method”. I wonder if that was said so as to make iPhone users feel secured and relieved that no one will will be prying on their devices anytime soon.