Should the FBI or other government agencies reveal bugs to tech companies or use them to their advantage?
The FBI this week broke into an iPhone it once insisted was impenetrable.
But how? That’s what Apple reportedly wants to know, but the feds aren’t telling.
As the Los Angeles Times points out, the whole case presents “a new ethical dilemma”—should the FBI or other government agencies reveal bugs to tech companies or use them to their advantage?
Given that Apple refused to create a new operating system to help the FBI gain access to the shooter’s iPhone 5c, it should come as no surprise that the feds aren’t willing to share how they hacked the phone.
But in doing so, is the agency putting other iPhone users at risk?
After the FBI announced the iPhone hack and withdrew its case against Apple, the iPhone maker said in a statement that it “will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated.
“This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy,” the company continued. “Apple remains committed to participating in that discussion.”
There has been some speculation that the FBI received assistance from Israeli security firm Cellebrite to unlock the phone, but neither party has confirmed that information.
Neither the FBI nor Apple immediately responded to PCMag’s request for comment.
Cupertino, meanwhile may find some answers in a similar New York iPhone unlocking case.
As reported by Reuters, if the DOJ compels Apple to help access a device used in a Brooklyn drug case, the company could coerce the government into revealing how it cracked Farook’s phone.