After months of continuous debate and with the help of Israeli data extraction company Cellebrite, the FBI has successfully unlocked the encrypted iPhone belonging to San Bernardino shooter, Syed Farook. While this recent development has resulted in the FBI withdrawing its legal case against Apple, experts in the field claim the battle is far from over. “This lawsuit may be over, but the Constitutional and privacy questions it raised are not,” said Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) who has been very vocal in the fight against Apple’s encryption methods and privacy standards. Although Apple will not have to create this backdoor for the FBI, there will surely be pressure to unlock more iPhones being held for potential evidence in cases across the nation.
How Cellebrite and the FBI were able to access the data in the encrypted phone remain unclear but there is a possibility that the FBI will have to tell Apple how it got past Apple’s advanced security features. Apple has maintained that it will continue to work with law enforcement but it will not undermine its customers’ right to privacy guaranteed in their products. “This case should never have been brought,” Apple said in a statement released late Monday. “We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated. … This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy.” While this is certainly a win for the FBI, one can only expect Apple to increase its focus on encryption and privacy to ensure no backdoor will be made and the flaw that allowed the FBI to unlock the phone, will be patched.