Oh, how it must sting that Apple needs law enforcement cooperation now, after so many adamant refusals of its own assistance in a very delicate and complex terrorist attack investigation! But hands down the most ironic thing about this point of Cupertino’s FBI dispute is the intelligence service can’t be compelled to disclose the hacking technique used on Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c.
Tim Cook could always sue, which would be even more ironic, and argue a so-called “Vulnerabilities Equities Process” applies here. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly an official or legal act, but rather an informal set of guidelines with plenty of room for interpretation.
Obviously, the FBI is currently considering whether revealing the nature of the iOS vulnerability reportedly exploited by mobile forensic firm Cellebrite to Apple would be in the service of the greater good.
After all, it’d entail giving up a precious technical advantage prospectively necessary in similar criminal cases, but at the same time, it could be of immense help to the most popular US smartphone vendor in its efforts of thwarting cyber-aggressions from foreign governments.
At the end of the day, the pros and cons should be rigorously examined as soon as possible by the US president’s National Security Council, as time can be of essence if Apple is indeed completely unaware of how a skilled and motivated attacker is able to gain access of confidential info stored on its iPhones.
Rumor has it the FBI found a way into this particular device without forging a master key or backdoor usable on all phones running the same OS version, but if it doesn’t tell, we can never know for sure.