Just like Apple, the FBI isn't sharing unlocked iPhone secrets [Updated]


Even though Apple's lawyers are searching for a way to compel the FBI to reveal how it unlocked the San Bernardino iPhone, it doesn't sound like the bureau is in a sharing kind of mood.

After Apple refused an FBI-requested court order demanding it create a backdoor into the iPhone, a mysterious third party stepped up and gave the agency a way in.

While the FBI dropped the court order with the method in hand, it confirmed during a meeting with privacy professionals that it hasn't told Apple how it was able to hack into the iPhone, according to The New York Times.

The FBI's lawyer, James Baker, said officials have been in talks with the Cupertino firm regarding the unlocking issue, though it has "not shared the solution with Apple to date."

A useful hack?

Despite the nearly two month-long furor with Apple over the iPhone, the FBI hasn't said whether the data it gained from the unlocked iPhone 5C is of any use. Partially, it sounds like it just hasn't gotten there yet.

"We're still working on that, I guess is the answer," Baker said.

However, he also added that it "was worth the fight to make sure that we have turned over every rock that we can with respect to the investigation," and ensured that all logical leads were pursued.

With the investigation into the San Bernardino attack still ongoing, it's not surprising the FBI is staying mum on any data it may have unearthed. What we don't know is whether any of that information will be made public when the investigation closes.

"If and when it becomes appropriate to disclose it, we will," Baker said.

It's also unclear if the FBI will ever reveal its unlocking method to Apple, even though it could mean there's an existing iPhone 5C vulnerability, which may affect other iPhone models, that the company is unaware of.

Well, it's not staying totally quiet

The FBI may not be talking to Apple about the iPhone unlocking method, but it reportedly is opening up to a few select government officials.

The agency has reportedly briefed US Senator Diane Feinstein on how it access the iPhone's data, while Senator Richard Burr is scheduled to be briefed, according to the National Journal (via Engadget).

Feinstein is the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, while Burr is the committee's chairman. Both are working on a bill that would limit the use of encryption in consumer technology products. Feinstein, for one, sides with the FBI when it comes to keeping the method private.

How much this case will impact the senators' bill remains unclear, though it's not likely to be insignificant.

Via The Verge