FBI offers to assistance agencies with locked phones

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 8:04 PM

The different guidance from the nation’s premier law-enforcement agency is in response to a surge of interest from state and local authorities in how the FBI was able to open a locked iPhone seized in the probe of a terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif., in December.

FBI offers to assistance agencies with locked phones

The Federal Bureau of Investigation told law-enforcement agencies around the country Friday it'd attempt to assistance them open locked phones or other devices as much as “legal and policy constraints’’ allow.

The different guidance from the nation’s premier law-enforcement agency is in response to a surge of interest from state and local authorities in how the FBI was able to open a locked iPhone seized in the probe of a terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif., in December.

The FBI advisory seems to be aimed at reassuring police and prosecutors that while they don’t have much to tell them now, they hope to allow more information and possibly assistance in the near future.

For months, the FBI had been unable to open the phone—a 5C model—and was engaged in a high-stakes valid battle with Apple Inc. trying to force the company to assistance open the device. The Justice Dept ended the valid battle this week, when it said a third party exterior the U. S. government had shown the Justice Dept a new means of cracking the phone.

"That method for unlocking that specific iPhone proved successful," the FBI missive said, adding that the agency is alert that the difficulty of accessing locked data in criminal probes “is a substantial state and local law-enforcement challenge that you face daily.’’

The FBI is presently testing to look whether the method used in the San Bernardino case may work against other types of iPhones, people familiar with the matter said.

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