Apple Encryption Battle: FBI Director Says Hacking Method Works on ‘Narrow Slice’ of iPhones

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The tool purchased from a private party and used to access an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters only works on a "narrow slice" of phones, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday night.

Speaking to a group at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, Comey said the government is considering whether to share with Apple how officials were able to access an iPhone 5c used by Syed Farook.

"We’re having discussions within the government about, 'OK, so should we tell Apple what the flaw is that was found?'" he said. "That is an interesting conversation because if we tell Apple, then they're going to fix it and we’re back where we started from."

Federal officials announced last month they successfully cracked into an iPhone used by Farook and no longer needed Apple's help in unlocking the device. The Department of Justice and Comey have said all along that the solution they sought in breaking into Farook’s phone would only work on this one phone -- the 5c running iOS 9.

Comey did not reveal the third party that helped the FBI crack into the phone, but said he knows "a fair amount about them" and is confident they'll keep the method used to access the phone private.

"The FBI is very good at keeping secrets and the people we bought this from -- I know a fair amount about them and I have a high degree of confidence that they are very good at protecting it and their motivations align with us," he said.

Apple has been staunch in its position that creating a backdoor for government officials would undermine the security of millions of users. However, Comey said the "slippery slope" argument is a "fallacy."

"The controversy over the Apple case, the challenge of encryption more broadly, has been chock full of slippery slope arguments and absolutist arguments," he said. "Every time you hear someone making a slippery slope argument, an alarm should go off in your head."

"The notion that privacy should be absolute or the government should keep their hands off our phones, to me just makes no sense given our history and our values," he said.

After the Department of Justice dropped its case against Apple last month, the company issued a statement saying legal action should never have been brought.

"From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred," Apple said. "We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated."

"This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy. Apple remains committed to participating in that discussion," the company added.

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Officials break ground on new park honoring the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombing

Officials break ground on new park honoring the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombingSeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Officials broke ground in Boston Wednesday for a new park dedicated to Martin Richard, the youngest victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Martin was 8 years old when he killed on April 15, 2013, as he watched the marathon from near the finish line with his family. His mother was gravely injured, and his sister, who was 7 at the time,
lost a leg.

Photos from Wednesday's ceremonial groundbreaking show children in hard hats using shovels to dig dirt. Martin's Park, located next to the Boston Children's Museum at the Smith Family Waterfront,
is expected to open in the fall of 2018, according to a press release from the office of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

"This park will bring light & hope to that darkness, honoring his memory & allowing kids to be kids," Baker wrote on Twitter.

#MartinRichard lost his life to terror. This park will bring light & hope to that darkness, honoring his memory & allowing kids to be kids. pic.twitter.com/lYUTMyZNxV

— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) August 16, 2017

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wrote on Twitter that the park will remind its visitors of "hope, compassion & love."

"Martin's spirit will always live on in Boston & in Martin's Park," Walsh wrote.

This park reminds us of hope, compassion & love a young boy taught us all. Martin's spirit will always live on in Boston & in Martin's Park. pic.twitter.com/w6Plokx6D7

— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) August 16, 2017

Both Baker and Walsh spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony, as well as Martin's family.

Martin's sister, Jane Richard, said she knows that her brother is happy that the community is coming together.

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