John McAfee Claims FBI’s Battle With Apple Was All Precedent, Government Contractor Cellebrite Had The Technology
In an email exchange with Forbes
Using the UFED Touch, the U.S. government can supposedly extract data from any iPhone and other smartphone devices. According to McAfee, the reason the FBI sued Apple in an attempt to force the Cupertino outfit to help the agency crack the aforementioned iPhone 5c handset was to set a legal precedent. Had the FBI ultimately won, it could have gone to Google and forced the Mountain View firm to provide backdoor access to Android. Between the two (Apple and Google), the FBI would be able to break into more than 98 percent of the world's smartphone devices.
There was also a financial motivator. The UFED Touch device costs several thousand dollars per unit. Presumably there's upkeep involved as well, which would add to the ongoing cost as new generation smartphones come out. It would be far cheaper for the FBI to obtain master keys for iOS and Android than to equip authorities across the country with UFED Touch devices.
Of course, you should take all this with several grains of salt. While certainly plausible, McAfee recently admitted to The Daily Dot that he lied about how easy it would be for him and a team of hackers to hack the iPhone 5c, only to then turn around and say it wasn't a lie so much as it was a dumbing down of the truth.
One thing is for sure—Apple and the FBI are on complete opposite sides on the issue of encryption and whether or not law enforcement should be allowed unfettered access into mobile devices. The issue may still play out in court someday, but not right now.