The FBI was recently embattled with Apple in an effort to get the company to unlock an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Long story short: Apple said no, the FBI hired an outside team for a ton of cash and eventually got into the device. But, meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department had already hacked into an iPhone 5s owned by April Jace, the deceased wife of Michael Jace, an actor from TV show “The Shield” who is accused of murdering April.
The Los Angeles Times said the LAPD managed to crack into the phone “during the same period that the FBI was demanding that Apple unlock the iPhone 5c of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.” In other words, the FBI might have thought about asking its pals in local law enforcement for an extra hand, since the LAPD had the resources to do it: a “forensic cellphone expert” who was capable of hacking into the device.
To be more clear, and this requires a bit of back-stepping on my part: the FBI wasn’t necessarily wrong for asking Apple to help break into the iPhone. Apple had done it many times before – but now the company is focused on protecting consumer privacy, almost certainly in the wake of Snowden’s revelations about government spying. It’s just that the FBI might have cracked the phone sooner had it called up the LAPD.