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FBI Already Preparing To Unlock Another iPhone

March 31, 2016, 9:59 AM UTC
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CUPERTINO, CA - MARCH 21: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple special event at the Apple headquarters on March 21, 2016 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to update its iPhone and iPad lines, and introduce new bands for the Apple Watch. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Fresh from unlocking the work iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, the FBI has offered to do the same with a separate iPhone, to help investigators in an Arkansas murder case.

The FBI originally tried to get Apple(AAPL) to help it in the San Bernardino case, by creating a special version of the iPhone software in order to bypass the phone’s security mechanisms. The legal battle caused an international storm, but last week the FBI suddenly dropped its case, saying it had found another way to get into the handset.

The agency had claimed the case was a one-off, though Apple warned it would set a precedent and threaten the security of other iPhone users.

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The details of the technique used to unlock the San Bernardino phone remain undisclosed, and it is not clear whether the FBI will use the same methods this time round.

According to AP, the FBI has agreed to help prosecutors in a case involving an iPhone and iPod belonging to teenager who stand accused of murdering a couple.

The two, 18-year-old Hunter Drexler and 15-year-old Justin Staton, are alleged to have killed Robert and Patricia Cogdell, who raised Staton, in their Conway home last July.

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Drexler’s attorney claimed his legal team was not concerned about anything the feds might find on his phone, but prosecutors say recorded conversations point to Staton’s iPod being used to communicate with others about plans for the killings.

Although the FBI has not said how it managed to unlock Farook’s phone without Apple’s assistance, reports pointed to Israeli forensics firm Cellebrite, which was the beneficiary of a recent FBI purchase order.