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You won't believe this, but… nothing useful found on Farook iPhone


Re: Hanlon's Razor

"I see your Hanlon's razor and raise you Clark's law: "sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice"."

I see your Hanlon's razor and Clark's law, and raise you Heinlein's Razor:

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity - but don't rule out malice."

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What a f*cking surprise.

Let's look at the fact (as ive read them)

He had three phones and destroyed two of them.

Odds are he knew there was nothing on it.

It was a work phone... Who in their right mind would use a phone that your employer can take back and possibly access to plan anything dodgy.


Funny thing about crime

"It's only the stupid people that get caught." -- Cop friend of mine.

The point I'm making is that it was worth checking because there are plenty of idiots out there, or even intelligent folk who know what they're doing but (spoiler!) make mistakes. In terms of logical argument, the fact that there's nothing on the phone changes absolutely nothing. The equation is the same. In the court of public opinion, this would have some weight... if it were reported on, if people cared, and/or if people weren't absolutely ignorant about basically everything.

People are idiots. He who commands the cognitive dissonance of the world controls it.


maybe he didn't destroy the work phone because they have a tough sysadmin?

Mitoo Bobsworth

Another glass turd from the authorities

It was never about the info on that phone, it is about more access, more intrusion, more control. The more detail & background reportage that came out on the incident, the more transparent the feds' bullshit became.

Silver badge

at least..

When this all blows over the health department can get a good trade-in value.

It being an iPhone an ' all that.

Silver badge

I'd still like to know who the "third party" is.


Third party

Chinese, Russian, Asian, Romanian hacker. Pick one. Anyone.

Blofeld's Cat
Black Helicopters

Oh dear ...

Never mind, they can always upload "something useful" to it now they have access.

[FX: Silenced rotor blades]

Not that they would ever dream of doing that of course ...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Read only access...

That has crossed my mind, too. Perhaps the FBI want RW access so the can put terrorist cat videos on the phone.

Either way, the guy was a good corporate citizen. He only used his personal phone for terrorism and the work provided phone for work.

You've got to have some principles...



I liked how everyone was screaming for encryption to be broken and it was only a few years ago, when Snowden released the NSA dump and then they were all calling for stronger encryption. ya can't have it both ways!

Pascal Monett
Silver badge

Um, you might want to turn your TV back on. Apparently many US politicians are still screaming for encryption to be broken - and most of them are the candidates.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Ahh yeah, as if they would say what they got off the phone. More likely they had someone leak that they found nothing.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

What I find interesting

Is that American Government job issued phones don't have management software on them.

Silver badge

No intelligence found on phone - or at the FBI.

Doctor Syntax
Silver badge

Given that they found nothing "useful" on the phone leaves the claim that it was cracked open to question to anyone who takes an evidence-based view of such matters. So does the fact that they haven't disclosed how they're supposed to have cracked it. Or who did it except that it wasn't the company that commentators expected it to be.

They have retreated from a situation which worked out unexpectedly bad for them in PR terms and done so with face intact.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

"...smashed up hard drives and other digital media..."

Smashing up (assuming these words are accurate) doesn't really get very far down the road to secure destruction. A square cm of platter would still contain huge chunks of data. A square mm of flash drive might contain a whole raft of files. Any forensic expert worth their groceries could extract vast amounts of info from the fragments.

MoD: Secure Erase, smash up, grind to dust, heat dust well above the Curie temperature, load the ash into barrels, place the barrels in a locked and monitored dungeon under an old castle, within a secure Military base, and keep them there 'forever'.

Allan George Dyer
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Re: "...smashed up hard drives and other digital media..."

MoD: Leave laptop on train.


Pascal Monett
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Re: "A square cm of platter would still contain huge chunks of data"

I'd really be interested in knowing how one would arrange reading just one square centimetre of a broken HDD platter when all you have is that piece of it.

Electron microscope, maybe ?

Will Godfrey
Silver badge

Re: "A square cm of platter would still contain huge chunks of data"

My usual HD destruction method is to remove the platters and bend them into pretty shapes. The stresses alone will destroy most of the magnetic information. Good luck reading the rest. I guess my discarded cat video porn is safe.

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Or maybe the Third Party on the Grassy Knoll couldn't crack the phone after all.

Or maybe the Third Party doesn't really exist.

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one issue

The phone was an attempt for a precedent so the ferals would not need to do leave the donut shop or so they thought. The metadata would be grounds for some visits and an abbreviated session of 20 questions.

x 7
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So what did you expect them to say? If they did find any info, they are not going to say so. They don't want to alarm any other suspects. This is simply disinformation

Steve Davies 3
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Oblig quote from the Bard.

"Much ado about nothing"

that leads to

"A Comety of Errors."

Then again, Dickens had it right with

"Bleak House".

Captain Badmouth

Re: Oblig quote from the Bard.

"A Comety of Errors."

You got that right. :)


On the "stupiidity" of people

For those who are not intelligent design/creationists, it would be a good time to revisit the principles of evolutionary theory. Just as we were not created neither were societies. Our future as a species is not dependent on smartness. Which of our individual biological functions is controlled by us ? Yes, we do get toilet trained but our control is quite limited in that area. If allowed to eat as much as we want in a single sitting , we also would quickly come up against a limit beyond our control and the same can be said for holding our breath. Just as evolution has resulted in our biological systems being mostly autonomic, the same can be said for that adaptation we call society. Most humans are born with a brain that prefers conformity to society. This must be the case because without that preference societies could not exist. In a real sense, conformity is much more important than what we like to think of as intelligence. For reasons that have nothing to do with concern for the masses, leadership through inheritance passed from the scene. This meant that an alternate mechanism had to come into existence for leadership to be determined. If to be a leader one must marshal a following, it is self-evident that those who are best at marshaling a following will end up leading. One would do better to realize that democracy is really a form closer to marketing than the myth of a well informed citizenry choosing a leader from among their own.


Re: On the "stupiidity" of people

I would really, REALLY love to know where this was going, but it seems to have wandered off the path of rationality and into the soggy ditch of incoherence. What I THINK you seem to be saying, is that we like being in an ordered system, regardless of how badly it's being run. And that those who are good at leading will end up leading. That certainly didn't need a massive wall of unformatted test to say, however. Even amanfromars1 has a better grasp of paragraphs.

And after all that, what on earth has said comment got to do with the subject at hand? This is an article on how nothing important was found on a phone most guessed was useless, not a diatribe on the intricacies of human biology and social development.

You could have just said the FBI has idiots in charge, would have been MUCH easier to read and agree with!

Silver badge

Re: On the "stupiidity" of people

" Most humans are born with a brain that prefers conformity to society."

Not all of them...


Re: On the "stupiidity" of people

amanfrommars - Is that you? Have you temporarily changed your name to "gnufrontier" to confuse the surveillance teams?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

No useful intelligence..

.. in either phone or the FBI.

No news, then. The probability was remote as it was - there was no way these people were going to store important data on the phone that THEY thought to be properly enrolled in an MDM...


The dog that doesn't bark

"Regardless, the FBI used the existence of the phone and the shocking nature of the crime to wage a public war with Apple over encryption and access to electronic goods. "

And if they hadn't made every effort to unlock the phone you would be criticising them for not following every lead.

"Just shows how lame they are they can't even hack a phone" would have been the tenor of the conversation from the almighty enlightened tech savants

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Work Phone...

I missed that.

I know my wok phone's encryption key has a master key held by the IT people at my workplace - just in case I forget the key.

In the case of this work iPhone, wouldn't the companies IT policy mean that a similar key was held with the IT admin team at the company?


The FBI don't know the procedure to unlock it? So they just let some random guy/company have their possibly important piece of evidence to unlock it, without any idea how they were going to do it?

If i were the FBI, I'd want to know exactly what was being done and how it worked to ensure that it wouldn't in any way damage any evidence on the phone..

What if they attempted it and then it triggered the wipe procedure? Whoops sorry guys.. They'd have thought about that situation and would have sense checked what was going on themselves first.


No choice

The FBI had no choice but to search for information on this phone to conduct its exhaustive investigation.

Image if they just threw it away, it fell into the hands of a media organization that cracked it and found vital information on the San Bernardino Shooting. Would you be one of the people criticizing the FBI and asking for resignations ?

Queasy Rider

Re: Image (sic) if they just threw it away

Fer gawd's sake, how stupid do you think the people on this thread are? To believe ANY agency would throw away a phone in such a high profile case? Yes, the FBI screwed up the password thing, but your straw man argument beggars belief.



What do you expect from the Ministry of Truth and Justice? (They merged in 2001).


Sorry, wrong thread, I re-posted on The Brexit debate thread.


As an Australian, we welcome immigrants, provided they meet strict criteria and are able to contribute. Europeans must be rolling in money with a social services infrastructure the envy of the world, jobs aplenty, and budgets in surplus. Brussels is the hub of efficiency! Wish we could be so generous...

Big Brother

Minority Report

If we'd known in advance that this fellow was so un-American as to only use his work phone for work stuff, we'd have been forewarned.

Daniel B.

No shit Sherlock

Nobody expected anything to be in the phone. The FBI wanted a test case.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Anne Elk

The other day upon the device

I saw data that mightn't have been nice

It could have been a drag

But we've been left holding the bag


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