FBI ‘Independently Cracks’ iPhone And Drops Case Against Apple

The FBI has successfully gained access to the locked iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, according to the US Justice Department.

In turn, the Bureau’s court case against Apple, which demanded that the iPhone maker write new software for the FBI to decrypt Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone, has been dropped.

Officials on Monday said that the iPhone was unlocked “independently”, and the court order against Apple will be withdrawn.

Accessed

“The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple,” prosecutors wrote in a filing on Monday.

Investigators in a statement said: “It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with co-operation from relevant parties, or through the court system when co-operation fails.”

Apple has been vehemently opposed to the FBI’s demands to help unlock the iPhone. Apple CEO Tim Cook robustly defended his company’s stance on encryption and thanked the general public for their support during the recent launch of the iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7.

It was last week when US prosecutors said that a “third party” had provided a method to the FBI for getting into the encrypted iPhone.

The bureau, until last weekend, had been insistent that the only way to get into the phone was to force Apple to write software that could unlock the device.

But on Monday March 22, aCalifornia federal judge agreed to a request from the government to postpone Tuesday’s hearing, allowing the FBI to reportedly attempt to unlock the phone using the “third party” method.

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Whether yesterday’s revelation was helped along by the same third party is not clear.

In response to the news, Apple said: “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.”

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Ben Sullivan

Ben covers web and technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their impact on the cloud computing industry, whilst also writing about data centre players and their increasing importance in Europe. He also covers future technologies such as drones, aerospace, science, and the effect of technology on the environment.

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