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Apple: San Bernardino Suspect’s Apple ID Password Was Changed in Government Custody, Blocking Access

John Paczkowski, reporting for BuzzFeed:

The Apple ID password linked to the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists was changed less than 24 hours after the government took possession of the device, senior Apple executives said Friday. If that hadn’t happened, Apple said, a backup of the information the government was seeking may have been accessible. […]

The executives said the company had been in regular discussions with the government since early January, and that it proposed four different ways to recover the information the government is interested in without building a back door. One of those methods would have involved connecting the phone to a known wifi network.

Apple sent engineers to try that method, the executives said, but the experts were unable to do it. It was then that they discovered that the Apple ID password associated with the phone had been changed.

Was the Apple ID (iCloud) password changed by the FBI, or by the San Bernardino County government, to whom the phone belongs?

Update: The password was changed by the county, according to the DOJ’s filing (page 18, footnote 7). Thanks to James Grimmelmann for the source.

Friday, 19 February 2016