Apple to Analyze Recovered iPhone of Florida Teens Lost at Sea

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Apple has agreed to examine a recovered iPhone at the center of a dispute between the families of two Florida teens who went missing during a fishing trip last summer (via ABC News).

In July 2015, 14-year-old Austin Stephanos and his friend and neighbor Perry Cohen, also 14, launched a single-engine vessel on a fishing expedition off the coast of Palm Beach County, Florida. The boys never returned, and despite a Coast Guard-led eight-day search of the Atlantic covering 50,000 nautical miles, their bodies were never found.

The recovered iPhone that belonged to Austin Stephanos (Image: Blu Stephanos)

Last month, their abandoned boat was discovered by a Norwegian crew 100 miles off the coast of Bermuda, along with a locked box inside of which was Stephanos' heavily water-damaged and inoperable iPhone 6.

Cohen had borrowed Stephanos' phone to communicate with his family the day they disappeared, and the Cohens wanted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to treat the phone as evidence in an open missing persons case, but the agency insisted on returning the phone to Stephanos' family, according to a local television report.

Cohen's mother, Pamela Cohen, sued Stephanos' family to have the iPhone returned to the state, to allow her access to its contents, and if necessary, have the phone turned over to law enforcement as evidence in a possible criminal investigation.

In the emergency hearing yesterday, Cohen's attorney pointed to an accident investigation report that suggested foul play in the boys' disappearance. According to the court file, Cohen's stepfather, Nick Korniloff, contacted the FBI in the belief that the boys had been abducted, but no official criminal investigation was undertaken.

Both families have now consented to turn over the phone to Apple, which "has already agreed to take in the phone" and analyze it for answers, according to a lawyer representing the Stephanos family. It will be sent to Cupertino via FedEx for forensic examination in-house. Apple has not commented on the lawyer's claim, although the company has previously acknowledged that it was asked to look at the device.

It's unclear whether the iPhone was passcode-protected when it was in working order, nor is it known what methods Apple will employ in its attempts to recover data from such a damaged device, therefore comparisons between this case and Apple's dispute with the FBI over its refusal to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's phone are premature. In the event that anything is found that sheds light on the circumstances of the boys' disappearance, the data will be given to a judge, who will consider if it is evidence and whether it may be shared with the families.

The phone "potentially holds the key to answer a question that a mother desperately needs answered," the Cohens' lawyer told the judge presiding over the hearing. "And let's be clear, your honor, the boys are not declared dead."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple to Analyze Recovered iPhone of Florida Teens Lost at Sea
 
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aajeevlin

macrumors 6502a
Mar 25, 2010
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I hope for the parents sake they can find out what happened.
Agreed. However, why is this turning into a criminal investigation? I don't get it. The sea is a rough place, things happens. If they want to investigation using the phone that's okay, but a criminal investigation? I'm not sure. Don't see the logic in this, maybe I'm missing something.
 

garirry

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Apr 27, 2013
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That's what the terrorists want you to think.
No, the terrorists want the total opposite: They want you to think that the terrorists are responsible so that people feared them.

Terrorism: Terror. Terror: Fear. Isn't it obvious? They just want us to fear them. Notice how people are STILL upset over 9/11? That's EXACTLY WHY THE TOWERS WERE HIT, IT BRINGS A LOT OF NEGATIVE TALK AND FEAR OF TERRORISTS!!
 

captain cadet

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Sep 2, 2012
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My god why is it that when someone is lost it absolutely HAS to be a terrorist abduction... The guys probably just fell off the boat and sank somewhere.
But how did 2 of them fall in the sea? I am a keen boater (as my name gives away), I worked at a major shipping company and have helped the RNLI (British Lifeboats). Its hard to see how both of them disappeared, also how were they so far out?
Its a single engine, its design for near shore use, not the Atlantic (by crossing). I have seen how wild the sea is and how calm it is one moment, then how wild it is. I also know how remote you can be and how vunreble you are to the elements, even in a port. Once you are around a head, you are just on your own, and thats its. if someone comes up to you and wants to be malicious, your in deep poop...

They probobly want to see the call logs (did they try to call for help?), the location of the phone (as if there been no internet connection, it stores until data and just to see general information about what happened.

Also if anyone here does boating, Please dont take your phone out at sea, you'll be amazed but even 200 meters away from cliffs you may not have any signal. Buy a waterproof VFH. And life-jackets.
Sadly there is a similar story with some Fishermen from where I am from with an RNLI, coastguards and Royal Navy search.
 

thermodynamic

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May 3, 2009
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These are all signs of a creeping invasion of privacy - and Apple is complicit, while pretending to be against it.
Then why did Apple invent and encourage these levels of encryption and so on? Due to one of them pesky gubmint wegulations that hurt pwofit so much that the companies offshore as a result?
 
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garirry

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Lol, well... it said NOTHING of the sort when I actually rtfa, so I guess I'd have to say: nobody thinks that; why did you bring it up??!
"According to the court file, Austin's stepfather, Nick Korniloff, contacted the FBI in the belief that the boys had been abducted, but no official criminal investigation was undertaken."
"The phone "potentially holds the key to answer a question that a mother desperately needs answered," the Cohens' lawyer told the judge presiding over the hearing. "And let's be clear, your honor, the boys are not declared dead.""
 
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jnpy!$4g3cwk

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Feb 11, 2010
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Also if anyone here does boating, Please dont take your phone out at sea, you'll be amazed but even 200 meters away from cliffs you may not have any signal. Buy a waterproof VFH. And life-jackets..
FWIW, the below model costs less than $100, has GPS, and is waterproof.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001J5MQ20/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3

Amazing what you can get for $80-$100.

(BTW, AFAIK, you are not allowed to use these radio frequencies for land-land communication, correct?)
 
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Jess13

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Interesting that the phone was in a locked box, I wonder if there was foul play (i.e. hostile boat approaching them) and one of the boys intuitively put the phone into that locked box so it likely would survive.
 
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JosephAW

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If they carefully unsolder the memory chips from the logic board and re-solder them to a working logic board they may have success.
 
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elmateo487

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Jun 12, 2008
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My god why is it that when someone is lost it absolutely HAS to be a terrorist abduction... The guys probably just fell off the boat and sank somewhere.
My god why is it that when I read an article on MacRumors I absolutely HAVE to read comments from armchair warriors who think they know something about the article. Yet that warrior didn't even read the article.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
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My god why is it that when someone is lost it absolutely HAS to be a terrorist abduction... The guys probably just fell off the boat and sank somewhere.
Waters around Bermuda have countless unsolved disappearances for no legit known reason. Of course there's going to be conspiracy theories.
 

Col4bin

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These are all signs of a creeping invasion of privacy - and Apple is complicit, while pretending to be against it.
Please get over yourself. The kid was a minor. His parents, as was their right, 100% agreed to allow Apple complete access to the iPhone to possibly shed light on what happened to their missing and presumed dead son. How is this a creeping invasion of privacy issue again?
 
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JosephAW

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Sadly they will find a couple of kids videoing and having a good time and then ah oh the battery is dead got to go.
Time to incorporate that solar charging screen patent.
 

tennisproha

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Jun 24, 2011
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waterproof VFH
Do you mean "marine VHF radio"…
[doublepost=1462049582][/doublepost]
These are all signs of a creeping invasion of privacy - and Apple is complicit, while pretending to be against it.
I don't think the dead care about privacy.
[doublepost=1462050158][/doublepost]I hate how everyone here is quick to make judgement. This forum is quickly becoming polluted and rotten. I wish moderators would be more proactive and stern.

Comments like, "they probably will be found doing so and so" or "they probably just so and so" are just disrespectful and distasteful. I saw the same with the filth people posted regarding the death at Apple HQ a few days ago.

Have some respect, at least for yourself. Yes this is macrumors and speculation is expected but not when it comes to news. A name is not binding; as we all know by now this site has grown to cover much more than rumors now. So with that there is a certain decorum that should be followed. I sometimes wonder how many of the members here are now in fact kids…

Moderators, please moderate better if you care about this space.
 
Last edited:

AbblePC

macrumors regular
Aug 1, 2009
169
62



Apple has agreed to examine a recovered iPhone at the center of a dispute between the families of two Florida teens who went missing during a fishing trip last summer (via ABC News).

In July 2015, 14-year-old Austin Stephanos and his friend and neighbor Perry Cohen, also 14, launched a single-engine vessel off the coast of Palm Beach County, Florida, on a fishing expedition. The boys never returned, and despite a Coast Guard-led eight-day search of the Atlantic covering 50,000 nautical miles, their bodies were never found.


The recovered iPhone that belonged to Austin Stephanos (Image: Blu Stephanos)

Last month, their abandoned boat was discovered by a Norwegian crew 100 miles off the coast of Bermuda, along with a locked box inside of which was Stephanos' heavily water-damaged and inoperable iPhone 6.

Cohen had borrowed the phone to communicate with his family the day they disappeared, and the Cohens wanted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to treat the phone as evidence in an open missing persons case, but the agency insisted on returning the phone to Stephanos' family, according to a local television report.

Cohen's mother, Pamela Cohen, sued Stephanos' family to have the iPhone returned to the state, to allow her access to its contents, and if necessary, have the phone turned over to law enforcement as evidence in a possible criminal investigation.

In the emergency hearing yesterday, Cohen's attorney pointed to an accident investigation report that suggested foul play in the boys' disappearance. According to the court file, Austin's stepfather, Nick Korniloff, contacted the FBI in the belief that the boys had been abducted, but no official criminal investigation was undertaken.

Both families have now consented to turn over the phone to Apple, which "has already agreed to take in the phone" and analyze it for answers, according to a lawyer representing the Stephanos family. It will be sent to Cupertino via FedEx for forensic examination in-house. Apple has not commented on the lawyer's claim, although the company has previously acknowledged that it was asked to look at the device.

It's unclear whether the iPhone was passcode-protected when it was in working order, nor is it known what methods Apple will employ in its attempts to recover data from such a damaged device, therefore comparisons between this case and Apple's dispute with the FBI over its refusal to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's phone are premature. In the event that anything is found that sheds light on the circumstances of the boys' disappearance, the data will be given to a judge, who will consider if it is evidence and whether it may be shared with the families.

The phone "potentially holds the key to answer a question that a mother desperately needs answered," the Cohens' lawyer told the judge presiding over the hearing. "And let's be clear, your honor, the boys are not declared dead."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple to Analyze Recovered iPhone of Florida Teens Lost at Sea

MacRumors: You have 2 mistakes in this article.

1.) You wrote that "Cohen had borrowed the phone to communicate with his family..."
It should read as "Austin (Stephanos) had borrowed the phone..."

2.) You wrote that "According to the court file, Austin's stepfather, Nick Korniloff, contacted the FBI..."
Nick Korniloff is actually the step father of Perry Cohen, and is not Austin's stepfather..

Reference articles:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/iphone-missing-teen-lost-sea-hold-answers-disappearance/story?id=38648964
And
http://abcnews.go.com/US/apple-analyze-iphone-teen-missing-sea/story?id=38763840
 
Last edited:

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
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Midlife, Midwest
But how did 2 of them fall in the sea? I am a keen boater (as my name gives away), I worked at a major shipping company and have helped the RNLI (British Lifeboats). Its hard to see how both of them disappeared, also how were they so far out?
Its a single engine, its design for near shore use, not the Atlantic (by crossing). I have seen how wild the sea is
The boat was a 19' Boston Whaler-type craft. Virtually unsinkable, but with relatively low freeboard, and no cabin or shelter from the elements.

How did they both come to be lost? I can imagine all sorts of scenarios; but probably the most likely is that they anchored the boat in shallow water and decided to go swimming or snorkeling. If one of them got into trouble, or if the anchor dragged or mooring came loose, the boat could have very quickly drifted or blown out of reach. If they were more than a mile or two from the mainland or a substantial islet, they would have very little chance of surviving very long in the open water.

I doubt the boys had any intention of traveling very far from the coast. The boat probably drifted on the current towards Bermuda.

I'm quite sure the Coast Guard and other investigators examined the recovered boat very closely. If there were any signs of a struggle or violence (bloodstains, bullet holes, scuffs and dents from ramming or boarding) the investigators haven't said so. The fact that the iPhone was found in a locked compartment suggests, to me, that the boys had no hint of trouble before they became separated from the boat.

Good reminders, BTW, about not going out on the water without appropriate communications and safety gear. As well as a solid grounding in the fundamentals of seamanship.
 

Col4bin

macrumors 68000
Oct 2, 2011
1,722
1,283
El Segundo
Do you mean "marine VHF radio"…
[doublepost=1462049582][/doublepost]
The don't think the dead care about privacy.
[doublepost=1462050158][/doublepost]I hate how everyone here is quick to make judgement. This forum is quickly becoming polluted and rotten. I wish moderators would be more proactive and stern.

Comments like, "they probably will be found doing so and so" or "they probably just so and so" are just disrespectful and distasteful. I saw the same with the filth people posted regarding the death at Apple HQ a few days ago.

Have some respect, at least for yourself. Yes this is macrumors and speculation is expected but not when it comes to news. A name is not binding; as we all know by now this site has grown to cover much more than rumors now. So with that there is a certain decorum that should be followed. I sometimes wonder how many of the members here are now in fact kids…

Moderators, please moderate better if you care about this space.
This. Bunch of sniveling millennials have infiltrated this board, all bummed because Bernie is getting smoked by Team Mom.
 
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