The Justice Department reported on Monday, March 28 that with the assistance from a third party, the iPhone that belonged to the San Bernardino shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook, was successfully unlocked.
In light of the third parties assistance, the Justice Department has officially filed a motion to drop the request that would force Apple to help with their investigation on accessing data from the iPhone.
The motion stated, “The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc.… accordingly, the government hereby requests that the Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search dated February 16, 2016 be vacated.”
A court hearing scheduled for March 22 was placed on a two-week delay in order to have the third party test out their method of unlocking the phone. A report was to be provided by April 5 on whether or not their method was successful.
The court hearing for March 22 would have allowed the FBI to plea with a judge to compel Apple to come up with an algorithm that could bypass the ten attempts at entering an iPhone’s passcode. Apple previously said that they did not have the capability of creating such an algorithm.
A third party approached the Justice Department claiming that they had a method to unlock the iPhone that would not require Apple to come up with the algorithm. The judge presiding over the case allowed the third party to work with the FBI as long as they reported back within the two-week period.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a law enforcement official said that the data was extracted from the iPhone over the weekend. The official wanted to remain anonymous and declined to discuss the contents of the phone with the Los Angeles Times.
“The official declined to offer any details about the hacking method or the outside party that provided it,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The only information that he did provide to the Los Angeles Times was that the FBI is examining the contents that were extracted from the phone.
According to the New York Times, “Lawyers for Apple have previously said the company would want to know the procedure used to crack open the smartphone, yet the government might classify the method.”
If the government does decide to classify the method that was used to unlock the iPhone, then the case between Apple and the FBI may not end.
Apple has been fighting for the right to privacy for their customers, and if they do not know how the iPhone was unlocked then they may not know how to begin to fix the problem for future Apple products.
Mike Baty, an iPhone user at ENMU, predicted that the third party would be able to unlock the iPhone. “Technology is so advanced, I do not see why they couldn’t [do it],” said Baty.
Since his prediction was correct, Baty said, “I just think Apple needs to come up with more security for the phones.”
This may be the opinion of other Apple users like Baty. This shows that iPhones are not as secure as Apple thought they were when it was said that have the technology to bypass the passcode attempts did not exist.