In what appears to be “do as I say, not as I do,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) won't share the method that was used to unlock an iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino shooters because the mechanism belongs to the third party who cracked the phone.
The agency will likely write an explanatory letter to the White House within the next few days detailing why it can't share the information with Apple or other government agencies, Reuters reported unidentified government sources as saying.
After weeks of pressuring Apple to comply with a court order to unlock the phone, the FBI abruptly announced that a third party had cracked it and Apple's assistance was no longer needed, temporarily averting a showdown. While the outside contractor has not been officially named, and some rumors even had the FBI hiring hackers, earlier reports said that the FBI likely used Israeli forensics firm Cellebrite.
The Justice Department also told a federal court last week that it was dropping its case against the tech giant after it received a passcode from an unnamed source to unlock another iPhone, used by a confessed drug dealer, in what was seen as high-profile potential test case for the FBI.
In what was seen by some as an attempt to show its cooperation, the FBI earlier this month used the White House's Vulnerabilities Equities Process for the first time to report a flaw in older iPhone and Mac versions, Reuters noted.