On Monday, the FBI essentially told Apple “oh never mind, we figured out a way into that iPhone ourselves.”
So the government is dropping its federal court case against the tech giant.
With the help of a third party, the federal agency said it was able to successfully crack into encrypted information stored on the smartphone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, Calif., attack last December. For weeks, the government pressed for Apple’s help, arguing that the only way into the phone was for Apple to build a special kind of software for the feds, what Apple started calling a “GovtOS.” Apple decried the request, arguing it would hurt the security of all its phones.
While it’s not immediately clear whether or not the technique FBI used on Farook’s iPhone 5c could be used to sneak into other models, the FBI’s successful hack raises new questions about the effectiveness of Apple’s device encryption.
Here’s what Apple said Monday after the FBI dropped its case:
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.
Now read what others are saying about the case, including infamous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the FBI.