On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a brand new lawsuit demanding information about the FBI’s Electronic Device Analysis Unit (EDAU) — a forensic unit that the ACLU believes has been quietly breaking the iPhone’s native encryption methods.
“The FBI is secretly breaking the encryption that secures our cell phones and laptops from identity thieves, hackers, and abusive governments,” the ACLU stated in an announcement saying the lawsuit, “and it refuses to even acknowledge that it has information about these efforts.”
The FBI has made few public statements about the EDAU, however the lawsuit cites a handful of circumstances through which prosecutors have submitted a “Mobile Device Unlock Request” and acquired knowledge from a beforehand locked cellphone. The EDAU additionally put in public requests for the GrayKey units that discovered success unlocking a earlier model of iOS.
In June 2018, the ACLU filed a FOIA request for data referring to the EDAU, however the FBI has refused to verify any data even exist. After a string of appeals inside the FOIA course of, the group is taking the challenge to federal courtroom, calling on the lawyer normal and FBI inspector normal to immediately intervene and make the data accessible.
“We’re demanding the government release records concerning any policies applicable to the EDAU, its technological capabilities to unlock or access electronic devices, and its requests for, purchases of, or uses of software that could enable it to bypass encryption,” the ACLU stated in an announcement.
For years, Apple has promoted its iOS disk encryption as a robust safety in opposition to id theft and unauthorized entry — an important reassurance as more and more delicate knowledge is routed by means of our telephones. Apple’s insistence on sturdy knowledge safety has introduced it into battle with the FBI, which has repeatedly pressured the firm to construct a backdoor into its system, most notably in the San Bernardino case. The FBI’s present functionality to interrupt iOS encryption stays unclear.