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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > FBI to withdraw from San Bernardino case against Apple [U]

FBI to withdraw from San Bernardino case against Apple [U]
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NewsPoster
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Mar 28, 2016, 06:00 PM
 
[Update: government has now filed for withdrawal from the case] Ahead of the required April 5 progress report, USA Today is reporting that the FBI and US Department of Justice will withdraw its legal action against Apple, in which it was seeking to use the All Writs Act to compel Apple's assistance in hacking into a work-issued iPhone 5c given to San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook. An unnamed official said that the method of bypassing the security features preventing the agency from "cracking" the device's security has been successful, and the agency has now officially filed to withdraw from the action.

Three big questions remain with the new revelation: will the FBI find anything of value on the work-issued iPhone, which the two attackers in the workplace massacre -- Farook and his wife, Pashfeen Malik -- did not destroy, unlike their personal smartphones, and will the Department of Justice now withdraw its other AWA-based requests to try and compel Apple's compliance. If so, the question of whether the AWA can in fact be used in the novel method proposed by the DOJ and FBI will have to be settled in a future case.

Critics believe the agency has opted to withdraw from the case because it was likely to lose, and a court loss of the sort the DOJ has been handed thus far -- it is appealing the ruling of a Brooklyn court that the AWA cannot be used in this manner -- would actually set law enforcement efforts back, while even a win would have faced difficult constitutional challenges and likely taken years to resolve. The key to determining the truth behind the FBI's actions will be whether the agency reveals what it found -- or did not find -- on the gunman's iPhone. It remains to be seen what action, if any, Congress will take on the matter due to the FBI's withdrawal from the case.

( Last edited by NewsPoster; Mar 28, 2016 at 06:21 PM. )
     
mindwaves
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Mar 28, 2016, 06:33 PM
 
I do believe that the FBI knew it was going to lose. But with the growing presence of Big Brother in the world, I do believe future cases will side with the government unfortunately. There will definitely be future cases as I know there are at least other 12 other iPhones that the FBI has asked Apple to unlock.

Mirroring the NAND is an easy thing to do relatively. But I do wish the news sites would focus on that the "hack" would only work on the iPhone 5C.
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
Chongo
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Mar 28, 2016, 06:36 PM
 
Moot point now the FBI has hacked the phone.
     
Charles Martin
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Mar 28, 2016, 07:48 PM
 
We've heard from some people who don't think the FBI has hacked into the iPhone at all, and are just abandoning the fight because they have figured out that they won't win. This agency has already lied to the judge in this case several times over, so it is possible that they are saving face. We'll see when they reveal what they found or didn't find, if they ever do.
Charles Martin
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Flying Meat
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Mar 28, 2016, 08:14 PM
 
And whether anything they say regarding this case can be believed. :/

I presume at some point the truth will out, but that might be a long time off.
     
jeffnudi
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Mar 28, 2016, 09:00 PM
 
I do not believe that the FBI has hacked the phone, and to cover up this deception will claim they cannot share what they have found for reasons of National Security. They knew they were going to lose and this was their face saving maneuver.
     
Makosuke
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Mar 29, 2016, 03:14 PM
 
I believe this is what is colloquially called "blinking".

My interpretation of their bringing in this outside Israeli firm for the hack is that they knew perfectly well the NSA could probably get into it--people in the know have been quoted as saying basically that--and at minimum, the NSA has a better shot at it than some private security firm.

But if they suddenly said that the NSA was going to hack it after all the bluster, posturing, and half-truths, it would expose the whole thing as a blatant precedent-setting ploy. By claiming they're going to a private security firm that suddenly volunteered for the contract (maybe they even are going to use them), they don't have to admit that they knew the NSA could do it all along.
     
pigmode
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Mar 29, 2016, 05:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Charles Martin View Post
We've heard from some people who don't think the FBI has hacked into the iPhone at all, and are just abandoning the fight because they have figured out that they won't win. This agency has already lied to the judge in this case several times over, so it is possible that they are saving face. We'll see when they reveal what they found or didn't find, if they ever do.
Looks like the Justice Dept has also chimed in on this potentially government sponsored conspiracy. As for the FBI, for all of its Hollywood generated glamor, it's basically your bogged down Inefficient bureaucracy led by cowardly shadowy figures. It's good at selling explosives to sad mentally ill individuals unfortunate enough to blab within ear shot of informants.
     
   
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