It was announced last week that the month-long legal battle between technology giant Apple and the US government has come to a conclusion with the FBI gaining access to the iPhone in question by ‘other means’.

The Legal Battle Explained

For some time the FBI has been encouraging Apple to help its investigators gain access to an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook – the terrorist behind the December 2015 San Bernardino, California mass shooting.

It is believed that access to this device will provide encrypted data which may highlight where Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, travelled that day and in the 18 minutes after the shooting, plus anyone they may have contacted.

The issue? The password software on the iPhone will wipe the phone’s data clean after 10 incorrect password attempts, something that Apple claims would require them to create new software and violate privacy privileges.

In a statement, Apple said:

“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.

“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.”

The Latest Developments: Access is Made

The FBI and the US government have now dropped their 6 week legal battle against Apple as the FBI has gained access to the phone and extracted the data required through a ‘classified’ method.

At the end of March, despite previous claims that software changes could help prevent future terrorist attacks, Justice Department lawyers made a court filing which asked the court to vacate the previous demand for new access software. It stated:

“The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc,”

After the Hack

Despite the case ending, it has raised a number of digital privacy issues which has caused much discussion worldwide and may result in further cases being brought to court.

Since the announcement was made last week, the FBI has now said that it will help prosecutors unlock an iPhone and iPod that may hold vital data related to an Arkansas murder. It is unclear if the FBI intend on using the same unlocking method.

In other news, some outlets claim that Apple are considering filing a suit against the US government to discover how the iPhone in question was eventually hacked without the business’ help. It is also rumoured that Israeli intelligence firm Cellebrite helped in some form with the hack.

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