In what might be a landmark decision for state and local law enforcement, the FBI has agreed to unlock an iPhone and iPod in an Arkansas murder case—a decision that will likely have agencies all over the country asking for help in similar cases.
The FBI announced, on Friday, that it had successfully bypassed the encryption on the iPhone belonging to Syed Farook, the terrorist who died after killing 14 people in San Bernardino in December. The agency has been tightlipped on the exact procedure, if that process could be repeated, or if any digital forensic companies may have assisted them.
The Arkansas case involves two teenagers who are accused of killing an elderly couple in their home near Little Rock. The couple had raised one of the boys as their grandson.
Officials will not comment on the models of the iPhone or iPod in the murder case, or whether the FBI will use the same method to access the devices, reports the Associated Press.
Although the FBI will not release details of the hack, rumblings have pointed to the Parsippany, N.J.-based company Cellebrite, USA Corp. In December, they spoke at length with Forensic Magazine about iPhone encryption and hundreds of similar criminal cases nationwide. Headquartered in Israel, Cellebrite is considered one of the largest data extraction companies in the world.