U.S. immigration cops just spent a record amount on iPhone hacking equipment, amid an outcry about warrantless border searches of travelers’ mobiles.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) splurged $820,000 on tech made by Grayshift. The Atlanta-based company makes the GrayKey, previously described as the world’s best iPhone hacking tech for police and intelligence agents, allowing them to break passcodes and retrieve information from inside Apple devices.
The contract, signed just last week, takes the immigration department’s spend with the company to over $1.2 million, following a $384,000 Grayshift deal last year. That’s the most spent on the superpowered iPhone hacking service by any government department, local or federal, looking across public records. The deal also marks Grayshift’s biggest publicly known contract to date, according to a federal procurement database and state-level records. Its previous biggest, of $484,000, was with the U.S. Secret Service.
The latest deal landed at a time of increased anxiety about how and why cellphones are being searched at the border. At the end of April, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced they’d made progress in a court case against the U.S. government over warrantless searches of people’s phones at the border. The ACLU said that from documents obtained during legal process, it was apparent that Customs and Border Protection and ICE “are asserting near-unfettered authority to search and seize travelers’ devices at the border.”
By Thomas Brewter FOR FORBES
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