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FBI Manages to Unlock San Bernardino iPhone

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The USA's FBI says that it has managed to break the encryption used on Apple's iPhone, without help from Apple.

Apple had been ordered by a court to provide the FBI with access to an iPhone owned by the  San Bernardino gunman, but the move was resisted by Apple citing wider privacy concerns about developing system-wide back doors into its products.

Apple's stance had garnered support from privacy advocates and tech firms, but been critisised by a number of politicians who said that Apple's stance harmed national security.

However, the FBI now says that with assistance from an unnamed third-party, it has been able to unlock the iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, the gunman who, with his wife, killed 14 people in San Bernardino in December.

Last week, prosecutors said "an outside party" had demonstrated a possible way of unlocking the iPhone without Apple's help. A court hearing was postponed while the FBI made another attempt to get access to the iPhone files.

Eileen Decker, the top federal prosecutor in California, has now said investigators had received the necessary assistance to unlock the iPhone.

"It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with co-operation from relevant parties, or through the court system when co-operation fails," the statement added.

It is anticipated that the court order will now be dropped.

Responding to the announcement, Apple said: "From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government's dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought."

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Tags: apple iphone  fbi  USA