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FBI unlocks San Bernardino iPhone without Apple’s help, but both sides declare victory

MobilitySecurity & Privacy

The FBI has announced it succeeded in extracting data from the iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino gunman without Apple’s help, ending a two-month-long legal standoff.

The U.S. justice department, which previously took Apple to court, alleged that it couldn’t unlock the device without the company’s help through custom software – a request the vendor refused.

More recently the department requested to delay a hearing as it closed in on a way to independently.

With the new development, however, both sides are claiming victory.

With officials asking the court order to be withdrawn, Apple said its goal was accomplished.

“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,” the company said in a statement. “As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought.”

Nevertheless, the company had previously expressed interest in learning about any vulnerabilities in its line of smartphones. The FBI has refused to disclose how it succeeded.

The iPhone in question was originally issued by San Bernardino county to Syed Farook, its employee at the time, who in December murdered 14 people with his wife, Tashfeen Malik.

The issue of writing code to undermine a company’s own security is one that divided the tech community, although most executives, with the exception of former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, throwing their support behind Tim Cook, Apple chief executive. Apple said that while this case was over, the topic is likely to resurface.

“This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy,” it said. “Apple remains committed to participating in that discussion.”