The FBI successfully unlocked the San Bernardino gunman’s phone without Apple’s help, bringing the Obama administration and the tech giant’s legal battle to an end.
While specific details surrounding the FBI’s mysterious method of hacking into Syed Farbook’s iPhone 5C with the assistance of an “outside party” have not been released, the breach raised questions about the overall security of the Apple device, which was what the tech company said they were trying to protect all along.
Now, in addition to Apple’s promise to continue increasing security of its product, the company stated, “We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along.”
Still, the company stood by its decision to defend against the government’s demands for help.
“This case should never have been brought,” the company added.
Farbook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, died in a gun battle with police after the pair murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., in December in a terrorist attack. Authorities said accessing Farbook’s phone could help in learning more about the shooters, their cohorts, and other planned attacks.
FBI Director James Comey wrote an open letter on Feb. 21 explaining the government’s probe:
“The San Bernardino litigation isn’t about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message. It is about the victims and justice. Fourteen people were slaughtered and many more had their lives and bodies ruined. We owe them a thorough and professional investigation under law. That’s what this is. The American people should expect nothing less from the FBI. Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists. Maybe it doesn’t. But we can’t look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don’t follow this lead.”
On Monday, FBI Assistant Director David Bowdich said, “I am satisfied that we have access to more answers than we did before.”
(Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP Photo)