Over the past few weeks, U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation had been engaged in a heated legal battle with tech giant Apple over unlocking iPhones recovered from known criminals.
Most recently, the F.B.I had asked Apple to assist in unlocking the iPhone belonging to Rizwan Farook, the man responsible for killing 13 people at San Bernardino in December 2015. Apple, citing a violation of user’s privacy, denied the request. Apple argued that creating a backdoor could compromise the security of their entire O.S and leave their user’s vulnerable.
The case garnered worldwide media attention because of Apple’s stand and sparked a debate on national security vs user privacy. Both sides got a fair share of support while Congress deliberated.
On Tuesday however, the Justice Department withdrew its case against Apple citing that it had ‘successfully managed to obtain the necessary data’ with the help of a third party. F.B.I choose not to disclose who helped them get the data or how they plan on using it.
While Apple may breathe a sigh of relief, F.B.I’s ability to access data from encrypted phones is surely something that would remain a cause for concern. In addition, the withdrawal has also reignited the debate on whether Government agencies should be allowed to exercise control over the information residing on an individual’s personal device.