The FBI has agreed to help other law enforcement agencies across the US to unlock mobile phones like the iPhone in criminal investigations. The FBI has assured all the other agencies that within the constraints of the law and policy, it will offer support in unlocking phones.
Following the successful unlocking of the San Bernardino killer's iPhone, the FBI has been flooded with requests from other state and local law enforcement agencies to provide support and information on how to go about unlocking mobile devices that are part of an investigation.
The FBI, in a letter to local authorities, said it was aware of the kind of challenges that law enforcement agencies face when dealing with technology-related obstacles blocking investigations, according to a Reuters report. "As has been our longstanding policy, the FBI will of course consider any tool that might be helpful to our partners," the FBI said. "Please know that we will continue to do everything we can to help you consistent with our legal and policy constraints."
The letter came just days after the FBI dropped its case against Apple, announcing that it had successfully unlocked the iPhone of San Bernardino killer Syed Farook, who, along with his wife, killed 14 people and injured 22 others in a shooting rampage in California in December 2015.
The sudden end to the legal dispute was a victory for Apple, who had vehemently opposed to succumbing to the demands of the FBI to unlock the iPhone in question. However, the FBI's apparent success in unlocking the iPhone without Apple's assistance and its subsequent offer of support to other US law enforcement agencies in similar matters, raises the question of how secure user data and privacy truly could be in the future.
The FBI's letter ends on a note of solidarity — "We are in this together."