The hacking technique used to unlock the Apple device used by one of the San Bernardino shooters might never be revealed, Obama administration sources told Reuters this week.
The third party that helped break into the iPhone has sole ownership of the hacking technique, which makes it unlikely that authorities will share the method to Apple, or any other entity.
According to Reuters, the White House has a process for reviewing technology security gaps and deciding which should be revealed to the public. The procedure, the Vulnerabilities Equities Process, does not handle or disclose flaws that are discovered and owned by private companies. Without the collaboration of the company that hacked the iPhone, the FBI would not be able to submit the hacking technique to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process—even if it wanted to.
The procedure was designed to let government interests discuss what should be done with given security gaps, instead of leaving it up to agencies like the National Security Agency, which normally keep flaw secrets to themselves and use them for their benefit.