U.S. Government Ends Battle With Apple After Hacking iPhone Without Their Help

by : Tom Percival on : 29 Mar 2016 10:54
Apple Supporters Protest In Front Of FBI Headquarters In Washington DCApple Supporters Protest In Front Of FBI Headquarters In Washington DCGetty

According to court records the U.S. government has dropped its court battle against Apple after the FBI managed to pull data from the iPhone of San Bernardino gunman, Syed Farook. 

This recent development effectively ends the six-week legal battle between the tech giant and the government, which had the potential to shape digital privacy for years to come, The Guardian reports.


The Justice Department lawyers wrote to the court, on Monday evening, saying they no longer needed Apple’s help hacking into Farook’s iPhone 5c.


They said:

The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc…


They then asked the court to vacate a February 16  court order which ordered Apple to create software that would allow the FBI to bypass the iPhone’s security settings.


At a Department of Justice press conference, a law enforcement official declined to explain the technique used to access the phone, other than to say that it came from outside the government. The Guardian has claimed that the method used by the government has been classified.

The official also refused to comment on whether they would share the technique, which most likely exploits a security glitch in the phone, with Apple.Most likely because doing so would help the company to patch the security flaw and cost the government an investigative technique.

Officials Discuss Florida Anti-Terrorism RaidOfficials Discuss Florida Anti-Terrorism RaidGetty

While it may seem like the battle is over, industry experts have claimed that the debate’s only been delayed.

Government lawyers already have earmarked a number of criminal investigations that require bypassing encryption or other privacy features of various messaging services, such as Facebook’s Whatsapp, but they’re yet to take those companies to court.


In a statement on Monday night, Apple said: ‘This case should never have been brought.’ But they didn’t claim victory and made clear that it sees the debate with the government was still ongoing rather than settled.

The company said: 

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.

So it seems like we’re now moving into a strange ‘cold war’ between tech companies, protecting our right to privacy, and the government demanding greater transparency for our ‘own good’ of course…

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Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.

Topics: News


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    San Bernardino iPhone: US ends Apple case after accessing data without assistance