The FBI has “provisionally” decided not to reveal the details of the method it used to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone, Reuters reports. Anonymous sources reveal that the FBI plans to write to the White House within the next few days to explain that the agency cannot share the unlocking mechanism as it was provided by a third-party that retains the sole legal ownership to the method. Sources ”>reported previously that the FBI contractor that unlocked the iPhone was a foreign entity and since U.S. authorities were not provided with the details of the mechanism, the FBI could not share it even if the agency wanted to.
Despite this, however, Reuters reports that the FBI did warn Apple of an unrelated vulnerability in iOS and OS X on Apr. 14 — the first disclosure to Apple under the White House’s Vulnerabilities Equities Process — however Apple noted that the vulnerability that was disclosed involved older versions of both operating systems, identifying issues that have already been addressed nine months ago in the initial releases of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. The move suggests that the FBI’s disclosure may have been little more than a token effort to demonstrate good faith, however an unnamed Apple executive stated that the FBI’s disclosure “did nothing to change the company’s perception that the White House process is less effective than has been claimed.” While Apple declined to provide technical details, the company did state that about 80 percent of iPhones are running a safe version of the operating system, and Apple does not consider the flaw serious enough to issue a patch for the older operating system versions.