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FBI accesses encrypted iPhone of alleged San Bernardino shooter without Apple's help ending court case

Published 28/03/2016

The FBI unlock the San Bernadino killer's iPhone
The FBI unlock the San Bernadino killer's iPhone

The FBI has managed to break into the iPhone belonging to alleged San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook without Apple’s help, ending a court case on the matter.

"The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple," the Justice Department said in the filing.

It is unclear what useful data, if any, was found on Mr Farook’s device.

Investigators wanted information from the phone used by Farook who, with his wife, allegedly killed 14 people last year.

On February 16, a federal court in California ordered Apple to write special software to unlock the iPhon. Apple had been contesting the order, claiming that it would create a 'back door' that would weaken privacy and security of all iPhone owners.

It was also argued that if Apple complied it would create legal precedent allowing the agency access to any encrypted device.

Last week, prosecutors notified the magistrate judge that the FBI may be able to break into phones without Apple's help but needed more time to be sure.

Apple's opposition to helping the government get phone data prompted a national debate in the US over digital privacy rights and national security. The FBI had argued it would impossible to access the device without Apple creating a backdoor.

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