- The U.S. Justice Department said Monday that it successfully unlocked an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.
- As a result, the agency said it is dropping its legal case against Apple, suddenly ending the heated dispute and encryption battle between the two parties.
- On the eve of a hearing last week, the Justice Department said an unidentified outside party had presented the FBI with a technique that could possibly open the phone without requiring Apple to create a "backdoor" in the software.
In a court filing, the Justice Departments said the government had "successfully accessed the data stored on (the) iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple."
Though the revelation ends the current fight, there is likely much more to come. Just the fact that the Justice Department claims to have discovered an iPhone hacking technique raises lots of questions about whether or not that information will be shared.
If the agency shares the vulnerability with Apple, the company can move to remedy the software loophole, once again making the iPhone operating systems nearly impenetrable. And the company will want to assure its users that the their iPhones remain secure.
The case is a victory for Apple in some respects, as they won’t have to heed the government’s orders. While denying the FBI's request to create software to help break into the iPhone, Apple has argued over the far-reaching implications for other devices and software. Creating software for the government that undermines encryption creates a slippery slope, the company has said.