With its success in hacking the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, the Federal Bureau of Investigations is trying its newfound skills in unlocking more iPhone models. However, it could take the agency many more months to decide the best thing to do with their newly discovered hacking ability.
Its high-profile battle with the tech giant from Cupertino, California suddenly took a sudden turn this week, when the Justice Department asked the court to drop the case since the agency has already succeeded in unlocking the iPhone.
But Apple is clueless about its system's security flaw that allowed the FBI to hack the iPhone's contents. The worries of the tech giant are now exponentially growing since it doesn't know how many of its iPhones and other gadgets are vulnerable to hack attacks from the government agency.
In a related development, the FBI backed away when an Arkansas prosecutor stated that agents will help unlock an iPod and an iPhone that belongs to two teenagers charged with the killing of a couple. The agency stated that it hasn't examined the gadgets yet and is unsure if they will be able to help.
It was not clear if the agency's newfound power will be used to hack the two devices. But the FBI did not rule out the possibility of offering their help in this regard.
And on Wednesday, Cody Hiland, Faulkner County Prosecutor, stated that the agency had agreed to give their help in unlocking the concerned devices.
Although the FBI successfully hacked the iPhone 5s of the San Bernardino shooter, this model is not particularly special for Apple, thus limiting the impact of the agency's technique on other iPhone models.
However, it has consequences for the greater issue of privacy, encryption and security, which the two protagonists have unwittingly portrayed in the media.
A principal technologist at the ACLU, Chris Soghoian, offered his two cents on the matter. He said the FBI is facing "a million-dollar question, and really what it comes down to is, does the FBI prioritize its own surveillance needs, or does it prioritize cyber security.''