The Justice Department has withdrawn its case against Apple. The Department told a federal court that they had been able to unlock the iPhone without Apple’s help, therefore, there was no need for the case anymore.
In a statement, the spokeswoman for the Justice Department said, “The FBI has now successfully retrieved the data stored on the San Bernardino terrorists iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple required by this Court Order. The FBI is currently reviewing the information on the phone, consistent with standard investigatory procedures.”
The case which has been ongoing since FBI got possession of an iPhone that belonged to Syed Farooq; a terrorist who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California started a debate about privacy and encryption that is going to stretch a long time. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and Lahore only fuel the debate even more.
The court battle was expected to go all the way to the Supreme Court, but the news brings a rapid and unexpected conclusion to the trial.
Tech companies, giants and small all rallied around Apple’s decision to not create a backdoor for the FBI. At the time, Apple insisted that creating a backdoor for the FBI set a dangerous precedent and if the technique fell into the wrong hands, the fallout would be too much to handle. The company also argued that compiling a group to generate a code violated the First Amendment.
Apple released a statement on Monday night saying the case should not have been brought up in the first place.
The FBI claims they had made the initial filing as a last resort. They also refused to comment on the identity of the third party group that helped them access the iPhone. Neither the method nor the discoverer is known. In a statement, the FBI wrote, “I don’t think we’re going to go into any details other than what we put in our filing.” They also refused to comment on what was on Farook’s phone.
They did however not rule out using the same technique of going to court in future cases should the need arise. The agency official confirmed that the method worked on that one phone and believed it was too immature to comment on their ability to unlock other phones with different iOS versions.
Apple remained confident in the security of its products. The company released a statement saying they would continue to increase the safety of their products as data threats, and attacks become more frequent. They also added that future court orders would probably be dealt with in the same way.