How the FBI is using iPhone location data and facial recognition to ID participants in the Capitol riot.
From AppleInsider’s Apple Crime Blotter, posted Sunday:
When hundreds of people stormed the U.S. Capitol during the counting of the 2020 electoral votes, one thing was very noticeable: Many of them were holding up iPhones.
In the days that followed the January 8 capitol attack, it was clear that iPhones would be playing a big part in the arrests and eventual prosecutions of some participants. Many of those who took part in the insurrection not only shot and streamed footage, but they were glimpsed on the cameras of photos and videos shot by others, sometimes in the act of committing crimes.
Those phones were emitting location data, and law enforcement agencies have also been using facial recognition technology, including the controversial application Clearview AI, which Apple banned in February 2020.
The FBI, per The Verge, has collected more than 100,000 pieces of digital evidence related to the Capitol attack, and more than 170 cases had been opened as of January 12. At least one criminal complaint for a person charged in connection with the attack specifically referenced an iPhone search, which turned up location data.
Meanwhile, several members of Congress reported computers being stolen from their offices. Rep. Jim Clyburn, a member of the House Democratic leadership, was originally reported to have had his iPad stolen during the insurrection, although it was later determined that a staffer had moved it, reports CNN.
My take: Once you’re caught on camera, Apple can’t do much to protect your identity.