FBI Ditches Apple Legal Battle, Bypasses Apple And Unlocks San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has decided to ditch the ongoing legal battle with Apple to unlock the iPhone that belonged to San Berardino shooter Syed Farook. Apparently, there is no longer a need for the lawsuit previously filed against Apple because the FBI has successfully unlocked the iPhone without the help of the multinational technology company. "The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook's iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple," the Justice Department said in the filing.

According to the LA Times, the FBI managed to bypass Apple and unlock the iPhone with the assistance of an unnamed third party. On Monday, March 28, the Justice Department released a statement on behalf of the FBI, announcing the intent to drop the lawsuit against Apple. Prosecutors revealed very little details about the unlocking process and why the FBI had sought the assistance of Apple.

"Our decision to conclude the litigation was based solely on the fact that, with the recent assistance of a third party, we are now able to unlock that iPhone without compromising any information on the phone," prosecutors said in a statement.

Since the San Bernardino shooting was a terrorist attack, the FBI felt compelled to investigate to the fullest extent and requested that Apple work to fulfill the commitment to those who lost their lives during the horrific attack. But, Apple has adamantly refused to work with the FBI, citing issues regarding national security and privacy out of respect for its customers despite Farook being identified as a terrorist.

UNSPECIFIED - DECEMBER 4: In this handout provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Syed Rizwan Farook poses for a photo at an unsepcified date and location. The FBI announced that it is investigating the San Bernardino shooting and suspects Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, that left 14 people dead and many wounded as an act of terrorism. (Photo by FBI via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - DECEMBER 4: In this handout provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Syed Rizwan Farook poses for a photo at an unspecified date and location. The FBI announced that it is investigating the San Bernardino shooting and suspects Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, that left 14 people dead and many wounded as an act of terrorism. [Photo by FBI via Getty Images]The FBI decided to push the issue with legal action to force Apple to comply since Syed Farook's iPhone could lead to a major break in the San Bernardino shooting investigation. Although the FBI has yet to release an official statement about the findings inside his Apple iPhone, there is speculation about whether certain mobile data could explain the reason behind the shooting. In fact, the FBI could possibly incriminate others who may have helped orchestrate the shooting that was carried out by Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, both identified as radicalized Muslims.

"We sought an order compelling Apple to help unlock the phone to fulfill a solemn commitment to the victims of the San Bernardino shooting – that we will not rest until we have fully pursued every investigative lead related to the vicious attack," the statement said. "Although this step in the investigation is now complete, we will continue to explore every lead, and seek any appropriate legal process, to ensure our investigation collects all of the evidence related to this terrorist attack. The San Bernardino victims deserve nothing less."

Now that the FBI has successfully unlocked the iPhone, the government may be facing new conflicts with Apple in the near future since it is still unclear how the iPhone was cracked, according to the New York Times. Attorneys for Apple previously stressed the importance of the company's desire to know how the phone was unlocked, but the FBI has yet to reveal how the task was carried out.

According to Ars Technica, Apple will most likely be unable to force the FBI to disclose the information found inside Syed Farook's seized iPhone. "We cannot comment on the possibility of future disclosures to Apple," a federal law enforcement official reportedly told the publication. Apple has yet to release an official statement in reference to the FBI's announcement.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]