In the aftermath of the San Bernardino tragedy, many lawyers are unsure if Apple’s iPhones can be recovered today for responsive digital evidence. The FBI and Apple’s dispute was about obtaining access to an iPhone by recovering or bypassing the iPhone lock password. Without knowing the password, or passcode as Apple calls it, extraction of the encrypted iPhone and production of material evidence was impossible. But most attorneys representing clients in civil litigation cases in the courts today do not face that issue. Why? The electronic discovery process practiced by the parties to a civil dispute usually provides access to discoverable evidence including passwords to cell phones and computers.
Here at Carney Forensics we extract and examine evidence from iPhones in legal matters every day. Phone calls, texts, and even deleted text messages remain available for evidence recovery and analysis. The iPhone is usually unlocked as it enters our lab. Or, the iPhone lock password is readily available or can be obtained through legal means like court orders or the consent of the iPhone user.
The Bottom Line
We advise attorneys not to overlook the rich, probative evidence readily available from iPhones today in the vast majority of civil and criminal cases.