After a terrific showdown between Apple Inc. and the FBI which was closely followed by people around the world, the Justice department has dropped the case because it had found a way to unlock the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook in the San Bernardino shooting. FBI has been able to unlock the iPhone without Apple’s help. It has used a method that was brought to the organization by an unidentified entity about a month ago. With the help of this method the investigators were able to crack the code and access the contents of the phone without destroying any data.
Most of the details are being kept ambiguous so far. This means we only have knowledge of the fact that a private entity helped the government break the code but the method used by the FBI has not been disclosed. Neither are we aware if the phone was able to provide any information critical to the case. Officials also declined to confirm whether the method used to unlock this iPhone 5C could be used to open other phones as well.
While the case has been cut short with FBI’s success in accessing the phone, the conflict related to tech encryption continues to be a matter of importance. The recent courtroom battles have brought to light a number of things that must be considered when we are dealing with a world of encrypted devices. We can hardly compromise the sense of security that encryptions give us, but can this security turn into a threat if it comes in a face-off with law enforcement authorities?
With security being a rising concern where a breach can imply societal and financial implications, Apple’s strong standing against providing a backdoor was supported by most of the tech giants of the Silicon Valley. While the unlocking of the San Bernardino iPhone does bring this one case to a standstill, the undercurrents of a tech privacy war can already be felt.