The FBI said that it had managed to access encrypted information on the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, and the DOJ withdrew its order compelling Apple to provide technical assistance on Monday.
The development effectively ended a contentious legal battle between the government and Apple.
An Apple spokesman issued this statement:
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.
Earlier, the DOJ said in a statement:
The FBI has now successfully retrieved the data stored on the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple required by the Court Order. The FBI is currently reviewing the information on the phone, consistent with standard investigatory procedures.
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. We will continue to pursue all available options for this mission, including seeking the cooperation of manufacturers and relying upon the creativity of both the public and private sectors.
According to the DOJ, the reason it withdrew is because it was able to access the data on shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone without Apple’s help, raising questions that there is an security flaw in the iPhone that Apple might not know about.
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