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Apple has backlog of police unlocking requests

Apple has created a waiting list to deal with the increasing backlog of requests from law enforcement to unlock iOS devices seized in connection with crimes.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) recently seized an iPhone 4S; a crucial piece of evidence for an investigation in Kentucky, but they found that they were unable to locate any law enforcement agency capable of unlocking the phone for the investigation. Agent Rob Maynard spent nearly 3 months searching for someone with the “forensic ability” to get into the phone, but with no other option, he turned to Apple for assistance. A member of Apple’s litigation group responded to the request, stating there would be a whopping seven week delay for the request due to a large backlog of similar requests. The ATF had thus been put on a waiting list.

"I found a clue!"

 

Chang, the legal specialist at Apple who contacted Maynard, stated that “once the Apple analyst bypasses the passcode, the data will be downloaded onto a USB external drive”. It is unclear if this means Apple has a backdoor in place for accessing the otherwise locked data, but that seems to be the case. Google has performed similar tasks for law enforcement agencies, but instead of unlocking the device, Google has reset the password, which has the side effect of also notifying the user of the security compromise.

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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