Apple’s Brief Hits the Famous But Incompetent (FBI) With a Withering Fact Check
Ham handed idiots that caused the problem themselves with amateurish poking at the phone after it was captured.
But in a declaration filed yesterday, Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s manager of user privacy, suggested that Pluhar needed more training.
“This is false because it is not possible,” Neuenschwander wrote. “Agent Pluhar was likely looking at the wrong screen on the device. Specifically, he was not looking at the settings that govern the iCloud backups. It is the iCloud backup screen that governs what is backed up to iCloud. That screen has no ‘on’ and ‘off’ options for ‘Mail,’ ‘Photos,’ or ‘Notes.’”
In fact, Neuenschwander added, users “cannot exclude individual Apple apps on a one-by-one basis from backing up to iCloud.” The only exception, he wrote, was that a user can choose to have their photos stored in their iCloud Photo Library instead of in their iCloud backup, or choose to not store photos at all. “Once iCloud backup is enabled, all other Apple apps will backup with no configurable settings for the user,” he wrote. This means contacts, calendar events, reminders, notes, device settings, call history, home screen and app organization, iMessage, and text messages would all have been backed up to Farook’s iCloud account if he enabled iCloud backups on his phone.
Pluhar also made another error that Neuenschwander pointed out. The FBI agent had claimed that even if the phone had backed up data to its associated iCloud account, the FBI would still need Apple’s help to gain access to the phone to physically extract other data that doesn’t get backed up to iCloud—specifically, keystrokes left in the cache.