ICE wants to hack more phones. A lot more.
The contentious immigration enforcement agency has expanded its work with Cellebrite, an Israeli data extraction company best known for offering to crack the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone at the behest of the FBI in 2016. Cellebrite reportedly broke into the device for the Bureau, though the FBI disputed that story. The company’s technology can bypass most smartphones’ locks and download data from all their apps for law enforcement.
According to a recent federal filing, ICE will pay Cellebrite between $30 and $35 million for “universal forensic extraction devices” (UFED) and “accessories licenses, training and support services.” The contract, worth more than ten times the value of the $2.2 million agreement between the two agencies signed in 2017, will last between one and five years. The request originated from ICE’s Dallas office, according to a notice of intent posted June 24th. The synopsis of the contract also states that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and its Cyber Crimes Center (C3) plan to use Cellebrite’s technology. Within ICE, HSI leads investigations into child trafficking, drug smuggling, and fraud.