Even activating a suspect’s phone lock screen could be illegal, judge rules

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iPhone X lock screen notifications
You need the right warrant to do this.
Photo: Apple

Judge John Coughenour of the U.S. District Court in Seattle has ruled that FBI is not allowed to even look at the lock screen on a suspect’s smartphone without a warrant, Ars Technica reports.

The case involves a man from Washington state arrested in May last year, indicted on charges of robbery and assault. During the investigation, the FBI took a photo of the suspect’s phone lock screen, which had information they considered to be of interest. However, this behavior has been classed as unlawful.

FBI cracks alleged al-Qaida shooter’s iPhone without Apple’s help

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FBI director says Feds still can't unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case
F.B.I. cracks iPhone, with little help from Apple.
Photo: Dave Newman/Flickr CC

U.S. authorities have reportedly broken through the encryption on one of the iPhones belonging to a mass shooter without the help of Apple who refused to create a backdoor saying it violated privacy rights.

CNN reported Monday that the FBI defeated the password on the iPhone belonging to Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi military trainee who went on a mass shooting at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida last December killing four and injuring eight.

FBI issues Apple with warrant as part of senator illegal stock selloff probe

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FBI director says Feds still can't unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case
FBI wants information pertaining to Senator Richard Burr's iCloud account.
Photo: Dave Newman/Flickr CC

The FBI has served Apple with a warrant to gain information stored on U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s iCloud account. The Justice Department is investigating Burr for stock transactions that he made before the coronavirus pandemic decimated the stock market earlier this year.

US slams Huawei with racketeering charges

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Huawei
Huawei has been relentless in its pursuit to become the world's biggest tech company.
Photo: AndroidCentral

Apple’s biggest competition from China just got hit with the R.I.C.O.

The FBI and US Department of Justice revealed this afternoon 16 charges filed against Huawei, one of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers. Prosecutors claim Huawei conspired to steal trade secrets, commit wire fraud and conspired to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

We’re still digging into the 56-page indictment, but it looks like Huawei was on a two-decade-long streak of keepin it gangsta.

FBI director says Feds still can’t unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case

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FBI director says Feds still can't unlock iPhone in Pensacola shooting case
FBI wants Apple to help it unlock handset.
Photo: Dave Newman/Flickr CC

FBI director Christopher Wray says that the Feds are still unable to access the encrypted data on an iPhone belonging to the shooter responsible for killing three Americans at a Pensacola, Florida naval base in late 2019.

The FBI says that it has reconstructed the phone after it was damaged. But it still can’t access the information on the handset itself.

Why everyone’s upset about AirPods Pro, and Tim Cook’s favorite shower tech, this week on The CultCast

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CulCast 424
Finally, you too can shower like Tim Cook. We'll tell you how.
Photo: YSR50

This week on The CultCast: It’s not your imagination — Apple changed AirPods Pro and made them worse! We’ll tell you what’s going on. Plus: A new report says Apple caved to FBI pressure to keep your iCloud backups less safe. And stay tuned to hear about about Tim Cook’s favorite new … shower tech? Rub-a-dub-dub, my friends.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast, and use offer code CultCast at checkout for 10% off your first purchase.

iPhone 11 held off FBI hacking efforts for two months

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The FBI finally hacked an iPhone 11
Even a federal law-enforcement agency took months to bypass iPhone security.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

It reportedly took the FBI two months to bypass the security built in an iPhone 11. This demonstrates how difficult iPhone hacking is for even one of the world’s premier law-enforcement agencies.

2018 interview with Tim Cook suggests Apple was working on iCloud backup encryption

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2018 interview with Tim Cook suggests Apple was working on iCloud backup encryption
Apple is embroiled in a new privacy-centered controversy.
Photo: Apple

Yesterday, news broke about how Apple allegedly scrapped plans to let users fully encrypt backups of their devices using iCloud. This was supposedly because the FBI complained that encryption would make future investigations more difficult.

Apple did not comment on Reuters’ story. But a previous interview with CEO Tim Cook, published by German-language newspaper Der Spiegel, suggests this is something Apple may, in fact, have been working on.

Apple ditched plans for secure iCloud backups after FBI concern

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Apple ditched plans for secure iCloud backups after FBI concern
Apple planned new feature two years ago.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple ditched plans to let users fully encrypt backups of their devices using iCloud, a new report by Reuters claims. Apple reportedly made the decision after the FBI complained that this would make it harder to carry out future investigations.

The report mentions no names. But the news outlet reportedly spoke with “six sources familiar with the matter.”

Apple denies AG Barr’s calls of no help to unlock Pensacola killer’s iPhones

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Tim Cook & Apple stand behind its stance that iPhone encryption is "vital to protecting our country and our users' data."

Apple denied late Monday that it has not cooperated with U.S. federal authorities to help unlock a pair of iPhone’s believed to have belonged to a Saudi aviation student that killed three people at a Florida Navy base in December, saying it always works with law enforcement in their investigations and directly contradicting claims by the U.S. Attorney General that it had not given “substantive assistance.”