FBI forces suspect to unlock iPhone X via Face ID; a first instance ever

iPhone X Unlock

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An incident occurred on August 10 which made FBI force an Apple iPhone X owner to unlock the device with his face. The incident happened last month in Columbus, Ohio when the FBI called on a 28-year-old Grant Michalski at his home. Armed with a search warrant, the FBI forced Michalski to glance at his Apple iPhone X, unlocking the device, as reported by Forbes.

Michalski was ultimately charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. To look for evidence that whether Grant Michalski had sent or received child pornography, the FBI raided his home. They were equipped with a search warrant which allowed them to search Michalski’s computer for evidence, and during the raid, agents recovered his iPhone X. Michalski was asked to face his phone which he gladly did.

Previously, Apple defied a federal judge back by not unlocking the iPhone 5C belonging to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook in 2016. Since then locked iPhones have been opened by suspects using their fingerprints to activate Touch ID.

Cracking machines from GrayShift and Cellebrite has become a common practice as many law enforcement agencies rely on it that uses brute force techniques to unlock an iPhone. Talking about GrayShift, it has been able to stay one step ahead of Apple, claiming that it solved the USB Restrictive Mode introduced in iOS 12.

While the FBI obtained a warrant and appeared to have done everything within the bounds of the law, concerns remain about the use of such tactics as regarding the law. This seems to be easy for FBI as Michalski did not challenge the use of Face ID to unlock his iPhone. Some lawyers believe that a suspect can prevent law enforcement from taking the means of facial recognition to open a phone by simply pleading his/her fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination. If done so by this suspect it would have been a big turn over for both; the FBI and the iPhone.

FBI forces suspect to unlock iPhone X via Face ID; a first instance ever