Justice Department Officially Drops Lawsuit Against Apple in Ongoing iPhone Unlocking Dispute [Updated]

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's ongoing fight with the U.S. government over an order that would require the company to unlock the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook has come to an end, after the Justice Department today announced plans to drop its case against Apple.


    In a motion asking the court to vacate the original order, prosecutors said the FBI has been able to access the data stored on the iPhone 5c without Apple's help, reports CNBC. From the court filing:
    Apple was scheduled to square off against the FBI in court on Tuesday, March 22, but just a day ahead of when the court date was set to take place, the FBI asked for a temporary postponement as it had discovered a way to access the iPhone that would not require Apple's participation.

    It later came out that the FBI had enlisted the help of Israeli mobile software developer Cellebrite, a company that offers "mobile forensic solutions" to help law enforcement agencies crack the encryption on smartphones to access data. The government has not disclosed the method used to obtain the information on the iPhone, stating only that it has been retrieved.

    The withdrawal of the case brings the heated battle between Apple and the U.S. government to a close. The two have been fighting a very public debate over encryption and personal privacy, which kicked off when a court ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock the iPhone 5c in question.

    Unlocking the iPhone would have required Apple to build a new version of iOS that bypassed iPhone passcode restrictions and provided the FBI with a way to enter passcodes electronically, something Apple staunchly refused to do as it would set a dangerous precedent for the future of device encryption.

    Update: Apple has provided an official statement on the dismissal of the lawsuit.
    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Justice Department Officially Drops Lawsuit Against Apple in Ongoing iPhone Unlocking Dispute [Updated]
  2. developer13245, Mar 28, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016

    developer13245 macrumors 6502


    Nov 15, 2012
    Darn.. Already popped the popcorn....

    I'm on the side of maximum personal privacy, but it was going to be fun to watch an inept Justice Department go after a company that is naive about government power.
  3. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
  4. AppleFan91, Mar 28, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016

    AppleFan91 macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2012
    Indy, US
    Check and Mate.

    The DoJ dropped this because if they didn't, they would have to disclose how Cellibrite did it in the court case. So this isn't too surprising.
  5. iTom17 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2013
    Eindhoven, the Netherlands
    Really hope the FBI will inform Apple about how they managed to get into that iPhone. Because it may be good news that Apple doesn't have to worry about this case anymore, but it also means their security needs to be improved even further. Anyway, still good news though.
  6. garylapointe, Mar 28, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016

    garylapointe macrumors 65816


    Feb 19, 2006
    Dearborn (Detroit), MI, USA
    Interesting... I expected this to be dragged out WAY longer!

    Although, it'll rear it's head again when apple locks down that security hole (if they can)...

    MY QUESTION IS: Did they find anything useful on the iPhone?!?

  7. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020


    Dec 8, 2009
  8. Daniël Oosterhuis macrumors 6502a

    Daniël Oosterhuis

    Jan 10, 2016
    Black Mesa Research Facility
    That ended significantly more anti-climatic than I anticipated it would.
  9. v0lume4 macrumors 68000


    Jul 28, 2012
  10. dannyyankou macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2012
    Now Apple needs to figure out how they accessed it and patch it. If the government can hack into it, anyone can.
  11. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2014
  12. BillyBobBongo macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2007
    On The Interweb Thingy!
    Get in there! Tim, most of the time you're a bit of a tosser. But this time my proverbial hat is off to ya!
  13. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    Now comes the questions Apple wants to know..

    What did Cellebrite do to gain access? Are they going to accept the risk if their attack vector gets out in the wild? And are they going to report their method to Apple so such a method is mitigated?

    And finally, how much crow, humble pie, and rhubarb is the FBI going to have for dinner this week?

  14. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    Your next iPhone will have a self-destruct warning after 10 attempts or is opened. lol
  15. cclloyd macrumors 68000


    Oct 26, 2011
    Alpha Centauri A
    And there goes the first domino. How many are next? How many will they be able to unlock now? And what is apple going to do to try and prevent it?
  16. mikeray macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
  17. Rhonindk macrumors 68030


    Next you'll have Apple asking how. Followed by the DOJ using it for their 12. Then LEOs nation wide for their thousands of devices. Then FOI submittals. Then someone at the FBI dropping the dime and it gets out everywhere.

    Still think this is a wool blanket the FBI is attempting to use.
  18. gugy macrumors 68030

    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
    If the FBI accessed the iPhone, this is not very good news for Apple. I wonder what's happening.
  19. eac25 macrumors regular


    Sep 27, 2013
    ... somewhere under the rainbow ...
    Now I'd really love to know what, if anything, they found there!...

    And I'd also love for them to tell Apple how they got in, but my guess is that won't happen. The FBI is now publicly in the phone hacking business (along with other government departments like the NSA).
  20. Corrode macrumors 6502a


    Dec 26, 2008
    Calgary, AB
    And thanks to this case, Apple has certainly been working to make it even more difficult to access encrypted data that we will see in future iOS releases. Lit a fire under Apple as I'm sure an inevitable drawn out court case is not what they want.
  21. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    Cracked it years ago. This was never about having the ability to crack an iPhone, it was about getting the government to give them easier access to get at that data without the legal hurdles.

    They'll find a better case to push this agenda in the future.
  22. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    In other words, they didn't want to risk precedent being set by the case. If the case went against them they'd face an uphill battle to force people and phone makers to unlock their phones.

    This was never about accessing the data on the phone, it was about setting a legal precedent that said "you are obligated to backdoor your encryption if the FBI asks" and they realised that Apple wasn't going to take it lying down and thus the legal fight was tougher than they were expecting and they might actually lose.

    Edit: typo
  23. Knighstalker macrumors regular


    Dec 23, 2009
    In the Web
    This is probably not the last we've heard about this issue. I hope Apple's attempts for even stronger protections come to fruition sooner than later!
  24. noobinator macrumors 603


    Jun 19, 2009
    Pasadena, CA
    and they subsequently founds lots of selfies of the suspects and pics of their kid playing.

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