The story changes

When last we visited the FBI iPhone fiasco, it appeared that some county IT guy changed passwords on the phone all on his own, while the evidence was in FBI custody. Today…

San Bernardino Shooter’s iCloud Password Reset With FBI Consent, Agency Says
“Since the iPhone 5C was locked when investigators seized it during the lawful search on December 3rd, a logical next step was to obtain access to iCloud backups for the phone in order to obtain evidence related to the investigation in the days following the attack,” said the FBI statement.

The FBI added it worked with county technicians to reset the iCloud password on December 6, which differed from court filings made by the Justice Department that said “the owner [San Bernardino County Department of Public Health], in an attempt to gain access to some information in the hours after the attack, was able to reset the password remotely, but that had the effect of eliminating the possibility of an auto-backup.”

So the guy wasn’t working alone. The FBI wanted it. And they screwed up.

Apple: Investigators ruined best way to access terrorist data
According to senior Apple executives on Friday, the FBI might have been able to obtain data from an iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Farook, one of the San Bernardino terrorists, by connecting it to a familiar Wi-Fi network and having it create a new backup on Apple’s iCloud service.

The idea was foiled, the executives say, because the password to the terrorist’s iCloud account was reset shortly after the FBI took possession of the phone. That meant iCloud and the iPhone couldn’t recognize each other, the executives said.

So, as this is now being reported, we have two issues. First, the Feds lied in their brief to the court. My guess is that they thought admitting that they screwed up might cause the judge to question whether that imposed an obligation on Apple to create a whole new forensic/surveillance tool.

Second, do we really want to give that to bumblers who bungled somthing so basic?

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