[JURIST] USA Today, the Associated Press and Vice Media on Friday filed a federal complaint [text] against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] seeking to learn how the government was able to overcome Syed Farook‘s [CNN backgrounder] iPhone’s encryption allegedly without Apple’s help. The Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] initially filed suit against Apple in an attempt to force them to unlock Farook’s iPhone after he was involved in the San Bernardino killings [CNN backgrounder]. In March, the DOJ dropped the case [JURIST report] against Apple, stating that they had another method of unlocking the phone. Apple’s refusal to assist the government sparked controversy over digital privacy rights, which came to an anticlimactic end when the FBI used a third-party tool to overcome the iPhone’s security measures. Now, the media outlets seek to know what third-party tool was used, to what extent it may be used in the future and what security vulnerabilities the tool takes advantage of.
At the end of February Apple filed [JURIST report] a brief in the US District Court for the Central District of California in opposition of the US government’s request for the company to unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook. Counsel for Apple called the case “unprecedented” after the DOJ filed [JURIST report] a motion to compel Apple to unlock the encrypted iPhone. In response to the legal conflict, Apple asked [JURIST report] the US government to create a panel of experts to discuss issues of security versus privacy. The court order required [JURIST report] Apple to supply software to the FBI to disable a self-destruct feature that erases phone data after 10 failed attempts to enter the phone’s password.