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FBI Cracks Apple iPhone: What People Are Saying

March 29, 2016, 12:22 PM UTC

Here’s how fast big news gets commoditized.

I learned at dinner Monday from my Apple Watch that the FBI had broken into the iPhone of San Bernardino, Calif., shooting suspect Syed Rizwan Farook without Apple’s (AAPL) help. By Tuesday morning, Techmeme had gathered 66 headlines and 20 choice Tweets about the development. A Google search for “FBI cracks iPhone,” meanwhile, returned nearly 3 million hits.

A sampling of the latest statements circulated about the case:

Department of Justice: “The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple.”

Apple: “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.”

Edward Snowden: “Journalists: please remember that the government argued for months that this was impossible, despite expert consensus.”

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Cybersecurity specialist Oren Falkowitz: “The FBI made a mistake in trying to force Apple’s hand. Setting up an unintentional iPhone hacking challenge isn’t in anyone’s best interest.”

Journalist Daniel Rubin: “You just know Tim Cook is dying to ask the FBI how they did it.”

Wall Street Journal: “A government official said the method to unlock the phone wasn’t developed by a government agency, but by a private entity.”

New York Times: “[A] federal law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reporters on Monday said it was premature to say whether the method it used to open the phone in the San Bernardino case could be used on phones in other cases.”

Cybersecurity commentator Errata Security: “I doubt the technique was the NAND mirroring one many have described, or the well-known “decapping” procedure that has a 30% of irretrievably destroying the data. Instead, I think it was an [zero day] or jailbreak. Those two communities are pretty large, and this is well within their abilities.”

Privacy advocate Christopher Soghoian: “DOJ: We’re not giving the iOS [zero day] to Apple. Apple: We will continue to help law enforcement in other cases. Way to play hard ball, Apple.”

Forensic scientist Jonathan Zdziarski: “FBI: Look at our new toy! NSA: That’s not new.”

Apple: “This case should never have been brought.”

Fortune writer Dan Primack: “Has anyone considered that this is just an ingenious marketing campaign by Apple to get people to upgrade to newer iPhones?”

Jonathan Zdziarski: “As an American who helped fund the FBI’s massive exploit purchase this week, I demand to know what kind of evidence was on Farook’s phone.”

Blogger Ben Thompson: “No one comes out of this looking good. Whatever alleged ‘marketing benefit’ Apple achieved from selling secure phones has to be dinged by the fact this phone was broken into; meanwhile the FBI not only didn’t get the precedent that Apple and other companies ought to help them, but also look rather foolish and incompetent.”