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Cellebrite may have just cracked an iPhone 6 to the Delight of one Italian Father

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On April 2 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Father Pleads in Vain with Tim Cook to open his Dead Son's iPhone because Touch ID Failed to Work when needed." In that report we recounted Leonardo Fabbretti's pleading with Tim Cook to help him see the photos stored on his dead son's iPhone. The Italian architect sent a letter to Cook on March 21. Apple's customer care team has expressed sympathy, trying -- and failing -- to help Fabbretti unlock the iPhone. With Apple basically dismissing any hope for this father to see his son's photos outright for political reasons isn't right. Why do I say political reasons? If Apple could open the iPhone 6 for this father, it would be contradicting their message that the iPhone 6 with encryption can't be cracked. It would show the FBI and the world that they played politics with the San Bernardino iPhone. Yet a new CNN report states that the Israeli firm Cellebrite, who told Mr. Fabbretti they would try to crack the iPhone 6 to get him back the photos, had good news for him this week which could be bad news for Apple.


Cellebrite was supposedly limited to cracking iPhones up to the iPhone 5 model. If they've indeed cracked the iPhone 6 for Mr. Fabbretti as suggested "it could vastly change the public's perception of iPhone security," reports CNNMoney who added that "The myth of unhackable iPhones is beginning to crumble."


Fabbretti told CNNMoney that "This situation has been so uncomfortable. Parents should be able to control what's in their phones, especially when they're minors." Fabbretti also stated that he thinks Apple should rethink its privacy policy. He also believes that parents shouldn't buy their children iPhones. It's a message that may resonate with other parents who read about this story.


While it's not a done deal yet, Cellebrite's forensics team are optimistic about the chances of getting the photos back for Mr. Fabbretti. Fabbretti said he "just came back from their office in northern Italy. The meeting went well. They were able to download the directories with the iPhone's content, but there is still work to be done in order to access the files."


Those files contain the months of photos and conversations the dad so desperately wants to see, including a handful of videos taken three days before his son died.


On one hand it sounds promising for Mr. Fabbretti getting access to his dead son's photos and videos that were locked in this iPhone 6 and I truly hope this comes to pass. On the other hand, CNNMoney has jumped the gun a little here with their enthusiasm in wanting to claim that Apple's iPhone security is a myth when the job isn't yet complete. Was it politics or simply technical reasons for not opening the iPhone 6 as Apple has said all along? One way or another, the answer to that question appears to be days away and a lot is riding on its eventual outcome. 


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