The San Bernardino iPhone hack story rumbles on, with three news organizations insisting that there is no good reason for the FBI to withhold the cost of accessing the phone. Associated Press, Vice Media and USA Today have asked a US judge to force the FBI to reveal the information, reports the BBC …
The FBI had been criticized for spending what was reputed to be around a million dollars to access the work phone of one of the shooters. Given the care the pair took to destroy their own phones and computers, it had always seemed unlikely they would have left evidence on the iPhone in question, and the FBI later admitted that nothing of interest was found. It did, however, argue that the lack of information was still helpful.
The three news organizations sued the FBI for the information, following which the agency released 100 pages of documents. However, the fee paid to access the phone was redacted.
In the court filings, the organisations said that there was “no adequate justification” for the FBI to continue to withhold the information. They added that they did not seek information that would jeopardise national security.
There has been much speculation on the cost of the hack. It was originally suggested that it may have cost as little as $15k, before FBI director James Comey said it cost “more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months.” This led to an estimate of $1.3M before the FBI said that it was ‘less than a million‘ but declined to reveal the actual cost.