FBI pledges to help local law enforcement unlock seized iPhones

The FBI says that it will assist local law enforcement bodies around the U.S. in unlocking iPhones in cases where those devices could provide evidence. Though the Bureau has closed its case against Apple over one such phone, police forces across the country have been looking for a solution to their own issues with encrypted devices.

According to a letter obtained by CBS News, the FBI will attempt to assist these agencies when it is within their power to do so.

"We know that the absence of lawful, critical investigative tools due to the 'Going Dark' problem is a substantial state and local law enforcement challenge that you face daily," reads the FBI letter, obtained by CBS News. "As has been our longstanding policy, the FBI will of course consider any tool that might be helpful to our partners. Please know that we will continue to do everything we can to help you consistent with our legal and policy constraints. You have our commitment that we will maintain an open dialogue with you. We are in this together."

The FBI is said to have partnered with the Israel-based Cellebrite in order to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. The Bureau now owns the proprietary rights to the method, and will likely employ it in any local cases in which it provides assistance. They have already provided assistance in one such case in Arkansas.

FBI vs. Apple