US POLICE will use a 3D printer and a murder victim's digit to unlock an iPhone and perhaps supply a clue to the killer's identity.
This is the kind of thing that Sherlock Holmes would have been all for if he was around today, and not (spoiler alert) a made-up character.
The idea is inventive, but not new. Hackers worked out when fingerprint recognition became a thing that the technology could be subverted using sausages and sticky tape.
A 3D printer will save you from a visit to the butcher's, however, and will save the police having to go to Apple direct and ask for a key.
Apple cannot (apparently) and will not (definitely) publicly concede to do such a thing. We learned this in another case about a guy who shot a load of people in San Bernardino. Apple CEO Tim Cook made it very clear that his company will not play that game.
"The only way to get information [from a locked iPhone], at least currently the only way we know, would be to write a piece of software that we view as sort of the equivalent of cancer," he said at the time.
"We think it's bad news to write it. We would never write it. We have never written it, and that is what is at stake here. We believe that is a very dangerous operating system."
The Guardian said that computer science professor Anil Jain from Michigan State University has been pulled into this because of his work in the area. Jain told the paper that his assistance is for the good of society.
"The authorities think that unlocking the phone could give them the identity of the murderer. We are doing our social duty to assist in a criminal investigation. We are not in the attack business," Jain said.
"The 3D printing technique we developed is meant for calibrating fingerprint sensors, not nefariously unlocking someone's phone without their knowledge." µ
All it needs is a hardware vendor and you've got yourself a triad. Ahem
Google Assistant and Alexa face a new challenger in the virtual assistant arena
Not just that, it's quick too
Firm promises unremarkable handsets 'won't break the bank'