Grayshift, the startup behind one of the U.S. government’s favorite iPhone hacking technologies, has raised $47 million in funding. It’s a huge round for a phone forensics company, especially one that’s focused almost exclusively on breaking through the security of Apple’s famous device.
Grayshift’s Graykey, the existence of which was first revealed by Forbes in 2018, is used by a wide range of federal agencies, from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection to the FBI and the Oval Office. As revealed in recent research from nonprofit Upturn, it’s also used by a massive number of local police agencies across America.
The round, led by PeakEquity Partners, shows how investors are happy to go big on what some see as a powerful but potentially controversial technology. As Upturn said in its report, the widespread use of forensics tools like the GrayKey “represents a dangerous expansion in law enforcement’s investigatory powers.” “Given how routine these searches are today, together with racist policing policies and practices, it’s more than likely that these technologies disparately affect and are used against communities of color,” Upturn wrote.