A final ruling has been handed down on a case that originated in 2015 and involved the FBI’s questionable tactics in the securing of information on the San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone. The FBI had exhausted every method of trying to break the iPhone’s security but, even with Apple’s assistance, all methods were unsuccessful.
Initially, the FBI ended up filing a lawsuit against Apple. They claimed that Apple should be forced to create a mandatory security update for iPhones that removed the security features keeping them from unlocking the phone. However, they suddenly dropped their claims due to the finding of an alternative method for the unlocking of the phone in question.
In turn, the FBI had decided to reach out to other sources of a more debatable nature in order to solve the problem. This method was successful and the FBI finally had the iPhone “cracked” allowing them to review and retrieve the shooter’s iPhone activities.
Since the iPhone was officially cracked for authorities, other entities of the media quickly became involved. Claiming that the FBI was in violation of the Freedom of Information Act by not allowing the public to see the shooter’s iPhone data, a lawsuit was filed against them. Media agencies headlining the lawsuit included Vice, USA Today and the Associated Press.
Finally, in October of this year, a federal judge ruled in favor of the FBI and has allowed them to keep the recovered data, and the identity of the successful iPhone cracker, a secret.
While it certainly is important to protect sources of a specific nature in all corners of the law, many are still shaking their heads. A good example would be the fact that a similar situation occurred in recent times during Operation Pacifier where a pedophile was allowed to go free on a technicality and no one was happy with that.