Apple versus the FBI – FBI withdraws from case, accesses phone without Apple’s help

Anthony Caruana
29 March, 2016
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Despite its protestations and urgings to the courts, the FBI claims to have found a way into the iPhone 5c of the San Bernardino terrorists.

Despite saying in court documents that only Apple could assist it with accessing the data on Rizwan Farook’s county-owned iPhone 5c, the Justice Department and FBI now say they have “successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer require the assistance from Apple”.

It seems that necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention. The FBI, facing mounting opposition from the tech industry – represented by some companies with very deep pockets – and flagging public opinion once the details of how it was trying to compel Apple to break into the iPhone in question managed to put its head down and solve the problem itself.

The FBI hasn’t confirmed how it accessed the data on the iPhone 5c or what it found, if anything. However, it did confirm the solution was not internally sourced.

Last week, we reported that Israeli company CellBrite was working with other US law enforcement agencies to unlock an iPhone 6.

Although the current case is now resolved, the battle over the right of individuals to encrypt their data and communications is far from over.

Later this year, Apple will unveil iOS 10. It’s a safe bet that Apple will further strengthen protections for customers. And that will, undoubtedly, launch another war of words with law enforcement agencies around the world.

 

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