The DOJ on Monday filed a brief seeking to vacate a previous court's ruling that would have required Apple to assist the FBI in hacking into a locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. The DOJ's motion seemingly brings to a conclusion a saga that has continued to make headlines since the story burst into the news a few weeks ago.
According to the DOJ, the FBI no longer needs Apple's assistance because they managed to access the device's contents with the help of a third-party. While the identity of the third party was not revealed, it's been reported that the FBI received assistance from an Israeli software forensics company called Cellebrite. Whether that is true or not remains unknown, but we do know that the FBI did not receive any outside assistance from other government agencies like the NSA.
In the wake of the FBI accessing the locked iPhone and the DOJ droping its suit against it, Apple issued the following statement:
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. As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought.
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.
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.
This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy. Apple remains committed to participating in that discussion.