Apple’s public battle with the FBI came to a head on Tuesday with a congressional hearing. A lot of ground was covered during the five-hour-long meeting, but one particularly interesting bit of information came from FBI Director James Comey.
Responding to a question about the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, Comey admitted that it was a mistake to reset the iCloud password. The decision made it impossible to force the phone to backup to the cloud without unlocking it first, which could have revealed some important new evidence.
“As I understand from the experts, there was a mistake made in that 24 hours after the attack where the [San Bernardino] county at the FBI’s request took steps that made it hard—impossible—later to cause the phone to back up again to the iCloud,” he said, according to Motherboard.
The FBI had previously denied that changing the iCloud password was a mistake, so it looks like Comey may be admitting some fault. However, he also noted that an iCloud backup might not have been enough.
“We would still be in litigation because the experts tell me there is no way we would have gotten everything off the phone from a backup,” Comey added. “I have to take them at their word.”
Apple said the iCloud backup would have provided the FBI what it needed and publicly called out the FBI for resetting the password without consulting the company first. The iPhone-maker also argued that creating a new version of iOS with backdoor access at the FBI’s request could set a dangerous precedent and compromise the security and privacy for all Apple devices.