Senior Apple executives have told reporters on a scheduled telephone call that county officials within San Bernardino reset the Apple ID/iCloud password associated with the iPhone 5c that is part of the law enforcement’s case. The executives also went as far as to say that if the Apple ID password had not been reset in the crucial hours after the shooting in California, then it is highly possible that the data FBI needs from the device could have been retrieved from iCloud backups after a court order without having to build any backdoor to iPhone which FBI is now demanding Apple to create.
The county since then has defended itself by saying that the Apple ID password was reset under the guidance of the FBI. If anything, this highlights what could potentially be construed as a series of erroneous judgment calls by the officials directly after the shooting happened.
In addition to confirming the fact that the accused’s Apple ID password was changed in the immediate aftermath, Apple officials also told reporters that they had initially provided the FBI with four different options in order to try and retrieve the required data they need for investigation without having to hack the iPhone before the federal court ruled in favor of the FBI, and subsequently ordered Apple to create backdoor access to iPhone. One of those options involved triggering an iCloud backup when connecting the iPhone to a known Wi-Fi network. But since the Apple ID password was already changed by the officials, presumably in an attempt to try and crack the phone themselves, this option did not work.
In an open letter to customers, Apple and Tim Cook have confirmed that they will not build any such backdoor to the iPhone as that would set “a dangerous precedent” and if fallen into the wrong hands, it could potentially compromise every iPhone on the planet. We all know now how Apple’s resistance to build such a backdoor to iPhone has turned out for the company, with the U.S. Department of Justice now filing motion against it.
It will be interesting to see how the current stand-off between Apple and the FBI unfolds going forward, and what amazing insight will Donald Trump be offering on the subject in the future.
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