FBI unlocks iPhone without Apple's help

After a nearly six week court battle, the FBI has successfully unlocked the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino gunmen and no longer requires Apple's help in the matter, ending the courtroom battle.

A March 28 court filing from prosecutors states the government accessed the data stored on the phone and does not need Apple's assistance as mandated by an original Feb. 16 court order.

The filing does not indicate how the FBI was able to unlock the phone, but reports last week said an outside party demonstrated to the Bureau a way to potentially access the phone. The government has not identified the third party or the method used to access the phone's data, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Apple previously said it would like to know how the FBI or third parties may access the phone, but now the government may classify that information, according to The New York Times.

Now it has unlocked the phone, the FBI would like to drop the legal case against the tech giant that would have forced Apple to create a master key of sorts to access the phone's data, reports WSJ.

However, even if the legal battle is dropped, the larger debate over cybersecurity and the bounds of government reach are not over.

"It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain critical digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with cooperation from relevant parties, or through the court system when cooperation fails," Melanie Newman, a Justice Department spokeswoman, told WSJ.

More articles on Apple v. FBI:

Does the government need Apple's help unlocking an iPhone?
Perspective: What the Apple-FBI battle means for health data
Apple, FBI & House hearing: How the standoff could result in an encryption precedent

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