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FBI brings end to Apple court case after “cracking” San Bernardino iPhone

James Pearce
March 29, 2016

US justice department  claims the FBI have hacked into gunman’s iPhone without help from US manufacturer, bringing an end to bitter privacy dispute

The FBI claims it has cracked the iPhone of the San Bernardino gunman without Apple’s help, bringing an end to its ongoing court case against the US manufacturer.

The claims were made by the US justice department, who claimed on Monday (March 28) that the device had been accessed independently as it asked for its order to be withdrawn.

Apple had resisted a court order issued last month that required the iPhone-maker to write new software to allow officials access to Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone following the shooting in California that left 14 dead in December.

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

rose-gold-iphone6Investigators had “a solemn commitment to the victims of the San Bernardino shooting”, she 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,” the statement added.

Apple claimed building a backdoor into its software would “set a dangerous precedent” and in a statement said the case should never have been brought against the manufacturer. CEO Tim Cook used the recent launch of the iPhone SE to warn the FBI that Apple would not “shirk from our responsibility” to protect customer data.

“We built the iPhone for you, our customers,” Cook said today. “And we know it is a deeply personal device. … We need to decide, as a nation, how much power the government should have over our data and over our privacy.”

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