India To Get Technology To Unlock Any Smartphone


Gandhinagar: Indian law enforcement will soon get the technology to unlock notoriously hard-to-crack iPhones and other electronic devices with top-notch encryption. And India’s forensic facilities could become the global go-to place for law enforcement agencies seeking to unlock high-security devices.

The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), the country’s premier forensic institute located in Gandhinagar, will be buying the technology from Cellebrite, an Israeli company that was sought out by US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for unlocking a terrorist’s iPhone.

According to Israeli media reports, the digital forensics company has worked with major intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world.
FBI and iPhone-maker Apple had fought a public battle over unlocking the iPhone of Syed Farook, who along with his wife had killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, last December. FBI unlocked the iPhone with the help of Cellebrite, paying the firm a million dollar-plus fee. Now, FSL is in negotiations with the company to obtain this highend decryption technology.

“We are likely to have the technology within a month or so. India will become a global hub for cases where law enforcement is unable to break into phones,” said a senior FSL official. All officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The official said devices such as iPhones with operating systems iOS 8 and above are virtually impossible to break into without this technology. In iPhones, failed attempts to guess the passcode results in data deletion or turns data into gibberish. Another FSL official said the laboratory had sought help from the Israeli firm for a few cases. But now the “entire tool” will be obtained. Only FSLGandhinagar will have this technology. Requests for cracking encrypted devices from the country’s other forensic institutes will be entertained at a fee.