She said the department is not revealing the identity of the individual who provided the passcode because the investigation is ongoing.
Unlike the San Bernardino iPhone, this time there was no need for assistance from security experts; someone simply gave the feds the necessary passcode, and they were in. The government had previously been asking for a court order mandating that Apple bypass the lock screen of Feng’s iPhone 5.
The New York started in October 2015, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted help to access an iPhone 5s which belonged to drug dealer, Jun Feng. Feng initially said he did not remember the code. After continuous pushback from Apple, the Department of Justice was able to hack into the phone without the help of the major company at all. FBI Director James Comey hinted at an event in London on Thursday, April 21, 2016, that the FBI paid more than $1 million to break into the locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers.
The Justice Department said in March it had unlocked the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone with the help of an unidentified third party and dropped its case against Apple Inc, ending a high-stakes legal clash but leaving the broader fight over encryption unresolved. Last week, Apple had asked U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie to drop the case, saying the government had failed to demonstrate that it had exhausted all other options before demanding the company’s help. Apple declined to comment.
Legal analysts and industry lawyers are divided on whether the discovery of alternatives undermines the Justice Department’s case in seeking similar court orders in the future.
In what could be the next brewing court fight, Apple has objected to a warrant recently unsealed in MA federal court for a phone belonging to an alleged gangster, according to a lawyer for the defendant.
Justice Department spokesperson Emily Pierce said that investigators “no longer need Apple’s assistance” because of the event that had unfolded during the case. Because we now have access to the data we sought, we notified the court of this recent development and have withdrawn our request for assistance.