The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has squandered a chance to capture data from the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers.

The mishap occurred when the FBI ordered the resetting of the password to the online storage service iCloud soon after the attack happened.

Acknowledging that this was a mistake, FBI Director James B. Comey Jr. has said that the sleuths had believed that they would be able to access the information in the phone by resetting the password to its iCloud, but it was not to be.

What happened was that the move locked them out and also closed all windows that would have lent them accessibility.

On December 2, when assailants including Syed Rizwan Farook unleashed their attack killing 14 people, the FBI launched an investigation and had zeroed in on the iPhone 5c that was used by Farook. However, the bid to access phone information fell flat with this having happened.

The event has already drawn criticism and sparked debate in the legal and political circles, and also dragged Apple into the middle of the row, citing the company’s privacy norms.

Though many support Apple’s privacy concerns, some others lambasted Apple’s stance calling it a move to deprive authorities of evidence in critical cases involving newer iPhones.

Meanwhile, Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel, has been quoted as saying in a report that the FBI’s demand for technical help to unlock the iPhone 5c concerned could amount to setting a dangerous precedent for government intrusion on privacy and safety of the citizens.

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According to the Cupertino-based technology company, investigators have other means to gain access to crucial information.

Reacting harshly to the US Justice Department’s words that Apple’s strategy was driving its resistance to help the FBI, Sewell said Apple thinks protecting the security and privacy of iPhones is right.

The investigating agency still believes that encrypted data in Farook’s phone and its GPS system is likely to have significant clues about what happened after the shootings.

All said, the FBI misadventure of resetting the password and losing access to the data is sure to evoke much debate in the coming days.