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San Bernardino Investigation Update: FBI Finally Hacks iPhone Without Apple’s Help, Ends Legal Battle


The FBI announced on Monday that it will be ending the legal tussle with Apple Inc. as it has found a way to unlock San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone without the company’s help. A court order issued to Apple last month, which the company has been fighting to overturn, required it to help the FBI crack the iPhone security passcode.

The faceoff between the US government and the tech company gave rise to the debate as to whether security or privacy is more important. Apple refused to help the FBI to get past the security system of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone, citing privacy concerns which may affect all iPhone users across the world.

However, the government officials on Monday confirmed that the phone could be accessed successfully and appealed for the order to be withdrawn.

“The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. mandate by Court’s Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search dated February 16, 2016,” the New York Times quoted the Justice Department in its two-paragraph filing on Monday.

Eileen Decker, the top federal prosecutor in California, said in a statement on Monday that investigators received help from a “third party,” but did not specify who it was.

“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 cooperation from relevant parties or through the court system when cooperation fails,” Decker said as quoted by the BBC.

Farook and his wife killed 14 people in San Bernardino shootings in December last year. The court order passed last month forced Apple to devise an alternative operating system which will be able to help the FBI pass through the security system of the iPhone. The investigators said that entering the wrong password multiple times could delete the phone’s data.

Apple, however, refused to comply saying that a compromised system would put millions of other iPhone user’s in danger.

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