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

    MacRumors

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    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.

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    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

    developer13245

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    Darn.. Already popped the popcorn....

    Edit:
    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 604

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

    AppleFan91 macrumors 65816

    AppleFan91

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    #4
    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

    iTom17

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    #6
    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

    garylapointe

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    #7
    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?!?

    Gary
     
  7. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020

    ToroidalZeus

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  8. Daniël Oosterhuis macrumors 6502a

    Daniël Oosterhuis

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    #9
    That ended significantly more anti-climatic than I anticipated it would.
     
  9. v0lume4 macrumors 65816

    v0lume4

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  10. dannyyankou macrumors 603

    dannyyankou

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    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

    Snoopy4

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  12. BillyBobBongo macrumors 68020

    BillyBobBongo

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    #13
    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

    bradl

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    #14
    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?

    BL.
     
  14. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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

    cclloyd

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    #16
    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

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  17. Rhonindk macrumors 68020

    Rhonindk

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    #18
    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

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    #19
    If the FBI accessed the iPhone, this is not very good news for Apple. I wonder what's happening.
     
  19. eac25 macrumors regular

    eac25

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    #20
    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

    Corrode

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    #21
    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 macrumors 68030

    OldSchoolMacGuy

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    #22
    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

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    #23
    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

    Knighstalker

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    #24
    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 601

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    #25
    and they subsequently founds lots of selfies of the suspects and pics of their kid playing.
     

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