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FBI breaks into gunman's iPhone without Apple's help, ending court case

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The FBI has used an undisclosed method to break into the San Bernardino gunman's iPhone without Apple's help, ending the court case.

The FBI's court battle with Apple over the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone has ended after federal officials said they were able to hack into the device without the company's assistance.

The FBI asked a judge in Riverside to vacate her order to compel Apple to help unlock the encrypted iPhone of gunman Syed Farook.

Officials did not reveal how they got into Farook's phone, but last week they had said an unidentified third party had come forward to demonstrate a possible method.

Farook and his wife died in a gun battle with police after killing 14 people in San Bernardino in December.

The judge's order had touched off an intense nationwide debate about privacy rights vs. law enforcement needs after Apple argued that creating a way to sidestep the iPhone's security would put the privacy of millions of people at risk.

U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Melanie Newman said Monday that "it remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety."

"As the government noted in its filing today, the FBI has now successfully retrieved the data stored on the San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple required by this Court Order. The FBI is currently reviewing the information on the phone, consistent with standard investigatory procedures," Newman said.

Apple on Monday stood by its stance against the FBI demanding a way around the iPhone's security measures.

"From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent," the company said. "As a result of the government's dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought.

"We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated."
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newsFBIappleiphonesan bernardino mass shootingtechnologyhackingsecuritySan Bernardino CountyRiverside
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