Apple Fix Stops Police Accessing iPhones

Apple Fix Stops Police Accessing iPhones
Law enforcement officials say the change means they will be unable to access information vital to some cases.

(CCM) — Apple has announced that it will fix a security flaw in its iPhones which is used by law enforcement agencies to access suspected criminals' data, even when the devices are locked.

A new software update will disable the iPhone's data and charging port one hour after the phone is locked, according to a report in the New York Times. After this time, police and other officials will be unable to use devices which connect to the port and run special software to extract the phone's data.

Such devices are commonly used to unlock suspects' phones days or months after they have been locked. The Indiana State Police alone unlocked 96 suspects' iPhones this year — after obtaining a warrant — using a GrayKey device bought in March for $15,000 from a company called Grayshift, the report says.

Apple spokesman Fred Sainz explained to the New York Times that it is fixing the security vulnerability because of worries that it could be exploited by criminals illegally, as well as law enforcement officials with a warrant. "We have the greatest respect for law enforcement, and we don’t design our security improvements to frustrate their efforts to do their jobs," he said.

But Hillar Moore, a district attorney in Baton Rouge, La., said that iPhones often provide investigators with crucial information and believes that Apple is wrong to close the security loophole. "They are blatantly protecting criminal activity, and only under the guise of privacy for their clients," he said.

Image: © Apple.