FACTS OF THE FBI’S STAND-OFF WITH APPLE:
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Dec 2: Gunman Syed Rizwan Farook and wife Tashfeen Malik shot dead by police after they kill 14 people in San Bernardino, California
– iPhone found in vehicle day after shooting
– FBI needs to access data on Farook’s work iPhone; Apple refuses
Feb 17: US magistrate Sheri Pym of California orders Apple to provide FBI with software to help hack into Farook’s work-issued iPhone
– Order touches off debate pitting digital privacy rights against national security concerns
– Apple and other tech companies argue they feel increasing need to protect customers’ data from hackers and unfriendly intruders
– Police and government authorities warn encryption and data-protection measures make it more difficult for investigators to track criminals and dangerous extremists
March 21: Prosecutors ask for postponement day before trial so they could test potential solution brought by third party
March 28: FBI says it’s cracked the phone
– The encrypted phone was protected by passcode including two security protocols: a time delay and self-destruct feature that erases the phone’s data after 10 tries
– With those features removed, the FBI said it could break into the phone in 26 minutes
– An official says method used to unlock the phone appears to work on the iPhone 5C operating a version of iOS 9
– Withdrawal of court process takes away Apple’s ability to legally request details on the method the FBI used.
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS UNANSWERED
– Who showed the FBI how to break into iPhones?
– How did they bypass the security features that Apple has invested millions of dollars to build into its flagship product?
– Are newer iPhones vulnerable to the same hacking technique?
– Will the FBI share its information with scores of state and local police agencies that said they also need to break into the iPhones of criminal suspects?
– Will the FBI reveal to Apple how it broke its security?
– Did the FBI find anything useful on the iPhone?