Justice Department unlocks San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone 5c through third party, drops case against Apple
Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016, 09:19
Category: iOS, iPhone, Legal, News, security
The FBI finally unlocked the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone 5c, even without Apple’s help.
The Justice Department announced yesterday that it was able to unlock San Bernadino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c and released the following statement:
The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. mandated by Court’s Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search dated February 16, 2016.
Accordingly, the government hereby requests that the Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search dated February 16, 2016 be vacated.
Apple was scheduled to square off against the FBI in court on Tuesday, March 22, but just a day ahead of when the court date was set to take place, the FBI asked for a temporary postponement as it had discovered a way to access the iPhone that would not require Apple’s participation.
The FBI had apparently enlisted the help of Israeli mobile developer Cellebrite, which was able to access the data on the iPhone. The government has not disclosed the method used to obtain the information on the iPhone, stating only that it has been retrieved.
The withdrawal of the case brings the heated battle between Apple and the U.S. government to a close. The two have been fighting a very public debate over encryption and personal privacy, which kicked off when a court ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock the iPhone 5c in question.
For Apple to unlock the iPhone, it was thought that the company would have to build a new version of its iOS that bypassed the device’s encryption and offered the FBI a way to enter passcode electronically, something Apple refused to do, stating that this would set a dangerous precedent regarding the future of device protection.
Apple offered the following statement regarding the case:
From the beginning, we objected to the FBI’s demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought.
We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated.
Apple believes deeply that people in the United States and around the world deserve data protection, security, and privacy. Sacrificing one for the other only puts people and countries at greater risk.
This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy. Apple remains committed to participating in that discussion.
As always, let us know what you think about this case in the comments.