Senators behind encryption bill know how the FBI hacked the iPhone

apple iphone found at sea 6s
Marc-André Julien
The FBI may not be willing to share how it successfully cracked the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone with Apple or the general public, but that’s not stopping the agency from disclosing the method to senators in Congress.

And it’s not just any member of Congress — the National Journal reports that Senator Diane Feinstein, D-CA, has been informed of the technique used, and Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., will be briefed soon. Burr and Feinstein are drafting an encryption bill that will force companies to comply with the government’s demands for access into their services.

A draft of the bill is expected in the coming weeks.

Apple wants to learn the technique the FBI used to hack into the iPhone of Syed Farook, a terrorist who took the lives of 14 people in San Bernardino in December of 2015. Apple originally rejected a court order that demanded the company assist the FBI in creating a backdoor into the iPhone. Apple cited privacy and security concerns for its customers.

The FBI learned of the technique by a third-party, which is rumored to be from the Israeli firm Cellebrite. After hacking into the iPhone, the FBI withdrew its case against the Cupertino company a day before the hearing.

Privacy groups have echoed Apple’s sentiments, saying the FBI should disclose the method — but the decision could ultimately fall in the hands of a White House review group.

The FBI has agreed to assist local law enforcement around the country by providing the method to unlock hundreds of iPhones that are part of criminal investigations. However, FBI officials told USA Today that the method hasn’t been used since it unlocked the San Bernardino iPhone.

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