FBI drops orders against Apple, says it cracked San Bernardino iPhone
The US government is giving up on ordering Apple to create an iPhone hack, saying it was able to access the data on a phone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, making the company's cooperation no longer necessary.
For the past six weeks, the Department of Justice has been trying to compel the Cupertino, California-based tech company to create a tool that would bypass security on an iPhone issued to Syed Rizwan Farook, citing an 18th century law. Apple has resisted, arguing that the move would compromise the security of all iPhone users.
Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were named as suspects in the December 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead and 22 seriously injured. Both Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout with police.
“The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc,” government attorneys wrote in a status report to the federal court in California on Monday.
The filing comes a week after the government announced it was receiving help from “an outside party” that could enable the FBI to access Farook’s iPhone. An Israeli newspaper later reported that the FBI was being assisted by Cellebrite, a mobile forensics company based in a suburb of Tel Aviv.
Hours earlier, Apple CEO Tim Cook had sworn to keep fighting the government’s request.
"We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and over our privacy. We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government. But we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and protect your privacy. We owe it to our customers and we owe it to our country," Cook had told USA Today.