Justice Department cracks iPhone; withdraws legal action

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Apple Encryption Inactive Security_143880

An iPhone is seen in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. The San Bernardino County-owned iPhone at the center of an unfolding high-profile legal battle between Apple Inc. and the U.S. government lacked a device management feature bought by the county that, if installed, would have allowed investigators easy and immediate access. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The FBI says it successfully used a mysterious technique without Apple’s help to break into an iPhone linked to the gunman in a California mass shooting.

The surprise development effectively ends a pitched court battle between Apple and the Obama administration.

The government told a federal court Monday without any details that it accessed data on gunman Syed Farook’s iPhone and no longer requires Apple’s assistance. Farook and his wife died in a gun battle with police after killing 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in December.

Apple did not immediately comment on the development.

A U.S. magistrate last month ordered Apple to provide the FBI with software to help it hack into Farook’s work-issued iPhone. The order touched off a debate pitting digital privacy rights against national security concerns.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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