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Crime Politics

Israeli company helps FBI to crack iPhone

Apple-iPhone-5SCall me innocent if you want to, but I just assumed that the FBI, the CIA and Mossad are able to see everything my electronic devices are doing. I thought Homeland Security knew how many times I boiled my kettle — which is why I use a gas stove (clever or what?) — and I thought they were able to count the number of shirts I iron every week. That would probably explain the extremely bored and overweight CIA shirtwatcher waiting to detect ironing activity chez moi while his career goes nowhere. No promotions in Bock ironing duty.

Yes, I must be naive. I thought every gadget made in the world had a back door built into it as a matter of course so that the FBI wouldn’t have to take Apple to court just because they needed to unlock an iPhone. And failing that, why didn’t the FBI just bring the phone to one of the many Pakistani shops that specialise in unlocking phones? They’re very good at what they do, you know, but maybe the Americans were a bit too invested in profiling and didn’t think it was a good plan to be involving people from the Indian sub-continent in such sensitive matters. After all, it was only this week that a disabled man had his payment bounced by a US bank because his dog was called Dash. The ever-vigilant teller detected that this sounded a lot like Daesh, the contemptuous acronym for ISIS (if it had been written in Arabic) and decided he was a potential terrorist threat. Because of course, a member of Islamic State is going to approach an American bank using a name that ISIS absolutely hates.

You can never be too careful, or too stupid.

Ok. It’s Murica and they aren’t going to use some Pakistani guy in a corner shop to unlock their iPhone, just in case he turns out to be, well, Pakistani and they have to put his name before Obama for the morning kill list.

Are we sending in a drone, Mr President? Huh? Are we?

What did he do?

Well, he fixed the phone while being Pakistani.

Isn’t that like being sort of Afghan?

Yes, Mr President.

Let me get back to you after my early-morning volleyball tango session.

But seriously, I thought they could control everything. I thought nothing in this world was made without a back door and it turns out I was right, but the back door is only for some people. The FBI might not have this access, and the CIA might not have this access. Homeland Security still don’t know how much tea I make and they still believe I iron 18.2 shirts a week. The White House might not have this access, and nor might the Pentagon, but somebody does.

Somebody is able to achieve a feat that the FBI can’t manage and yet nobody in the US security fraternity seems concerned about this fact.

Somebody out there is able to unlock an iPhone without losing its data and this person or body is referred to only as a Third Party.

To explain: the FBI has withdrawn its legal action against Apple since they have been able, with the assistance of what they describe as a third party, to unlock the phone of Syed Rizwan Farook, the San Bernardino shooter.

According to their status report submitted to the US District Court

The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Faroook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. …

And who might this Third party be? We’re all wondering about that, but informed sources are suggesting that it might be a company located in a country that proudly describes itself as the only democracy in the Middle East.

Now. Won’t it  make you feel a lot more secure tonight as you snuggle into your bed, knowing that the self-proclaimed only democracy in the Middle East has more technological savvy than the self-proclaimed greatest democracy in the world?

Apple might well be re-examining precisely where its manufacturing contracts are going, who is handling the manufacturing and who exactly has a say in the construction of its products but meanwhile, Bibi’s been reading your texts, Barack.

Stick to that BlackBerry.