The FBI has successfully unlocked the iPhone 11 belonging to Lev Parnas, an indited associate of Rudy Guiliani, accused of illegally funnelling foreign money into U.S. elections.
In a report by Bloomberg, Parnas had refused to unlock his device for authorities. The government wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in Manhattan saying: “First, Parnas declined to provide the password to his devices, which is of course his right, but which required the FBI to spend nearly two months unlocking the iPhone 11.”
The FBI was able to unlock the iPhone using a third-party software known as Cellebrite after Apple had refused to offer assistance in unlocking the device. Apple has been recently scrutinized by the FBI and US government for their stance on user privacy and lack of assistance in criminal investigations. However, Apple has been willing to provide authorities with data from iCloud in previous investigations.
Currently, Parnas has been charged with funnelling money into the US. However, he pleaded not guilty and is now out on bail.
Now that the FBI has successfully been able to unlock an iPhone 11 using Cellebrite, the Justice Department and US government can now consider whether other investigations hinge on Apple’s compliance to assisting in the matters of unlocking the devices of alleged criminals.
Apple has been pressured not only by the FBI, but President Trump himself to unlock two phones owner by a terrorist involved in the US Naval Base shooting in Florida in December of 2019.