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New York Police Already Unlocking iPhones on Their Own Since 2018

Ah, the Cellebrite. The Israeli company has caused earthquakes in the tech world with its techniques to unlock iPhones or Android smartphones, thus raising a number of discussions about the limits of privacy and the power that government / law enforcement agencies would have to invade devices of suspected individuals in crime investigations.

The latest news from the firm came in June this year when Cellebrite announced a new product called UFED Premium It is a device that would allow data extraction from iPhones and other devices. With it, government agencies could break into smartphones on their own without even sending them to the company; connecting the devices to UFED would be enough to bypass their protection methods, much as the infamous GrayKey worked.

What we did not know that, long before this announcement, the UFED Premium not only existed as it was already in full use. That's what a story, published today in Onezero, which talks about device invasion practices New York Police and at city government agencies.

According to information gathered by the matter, the New York District Attorney's Office has been using one of Cellebrite's devices since January 2018, a year and a half before the Israeli firm's announcement, to unlock iOS and Android smartphones. The agency would have agreed to pay over three years about $ 200,000 In UFED Premium-related licensing, installation and training, the contract still refers to another $ 1 million in “additional investments,” but it is not known whether the Office actually paid for these extra services.

Public defender Jerome Greco, who had the device of one of his clients intercepted by the New York police and unblocked by the Investigative Office, classified the case as worrying: “As some vigilant about the increasing vigilance, I think It's worrying that legal agencies have access to that kind of power. ”

Cellebrite declined to comment, and the New York District Attorney's Office said it did not discuss the agency's investigative techniques. It is not yet clear, either, if the UFED Premium device was in any way upgraded to unlock iPhones running iOS 13 until the latest news about it, the device was able to access up to version 12.3.x of the system.

via Cult of Mac