Apple is reportedly helping in the hunt for two 14-year-old boys who disappeared at sea last year, after one of their iPhones was discovered in non-working condition.
Both Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen were last seen on July 24. After their disappearance, the Coast Guard carried out an extensive eight-day search in the Atlantic, spanning 50,000 nautical miles, but the boys were never found. However, last month their boat was discovered 100 miles off the coast of Bermuda — with Austin’s iPhone on board.
In a statement given by Austin’s father, Blu Stephanos, the parent of one of the missing kids said that: “We’ve been working with the phone’s manufacturer who seems willing to help us try to get the phone operational again. That would be the first order of business, since Austin’s phone has been submerged in salt water for over eight months. We’ve also had an IT expert access the phone’s Cloud backup and, unfortunately, found that it had never been enabled.”
Just to be clear: this isn’t necessarily in conflict with Apple’s pro-encrpytion policy, which saw the company refuse to help unlock the iPhone at the heart of the San Bernardino shooting case. While Apple is (presumably) offering to help get the iPhone up and running again, nothing about the report suggests it would create a backdoor to aid with unlocking the iPhone if data on it was encrypted.
Still, hopefully the company will be able to help make some headway in this case — whatever the outcome turns out to be.
Source: ABC News