Apple’s legal encryption and privacy battles with the US government appear to be over, for now. The expected second front in New York has failed to materialise as the FBI has said that it no longer needs Apple’s help in unlocking a drug trafficker’s iPhone; because someone has given them the password.
It was widely anticipated that the New York courts would issue an order similar to the one in the San Bernadino to get Apple to share its customer data. There were some differences between the two cases, and observers noted that this could be the next test of how far a government could push a private company to comply with investigations.
Apple had previously noted that the FBI’s use of the legal system was to set legal precedent. One that would allow law enforcement to compel private companies to reveal customer information whenever a formal request was made. However, this case has also appeared to fizzled out without any conclusion reached.
This is perhaps an important win for Apple, who had previously said that the FBI had not yet exhausted all options for unlocking the iPhone in the New York case. Combined with the outcome of the San Bernadino incident, it shows that law enforcement agencies are more than capable of retrieve user data from seized iPhones.
Unfortunately for consumers, it also shows that US law enforcement has the capability to access secured devices; although the methods used are still unknown. Which only makes the need for encryption more necessary. If law enforcement is capable of retrieving data, then there will be others out there also capable of doing the same.
[Source: The Verge]