New FBI iPhone Technique Unlikely to Help Nation's Police

Technical and legal issues may keep the technique from being widely used

The method used by the FBI to open the iPhone of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook is unlikely to help police open hundreds of other iPhones that may contain evidence of a crime, NBC News reported Thursday.

On Monday, the Justice Department said it "successfully accessed the data stored on Farook's iPhone," using a method devised by an outside third party.

"We are now able to unlock that iPhone without compromising any information on the phone," said Eileen Decker, the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles.

But for both technical and legal reasons, the FBI is unlikely to use the same method to unlock other electronic devices sitting unopened in state and local crime labs around the nation.

On Wednesday, for example, prosecutors in Arkansas said they asked the FBI to help open an iPhone 6 and an iPod belonging to defendants in a murder case.  

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