Apple's decision not to comply with a court order forcing them to unlock the device became a nationwide issue; many sided with Apple, and others were unsure why Apple wasn't punished for contempt of court. A court hearing that was going to be held last Tuesday was canceled after the Justice Department announced out of nowhere that it had found a third party to unlock the phone.
The Justice Department released a two paragraph statement today saying that the government has successfully accessed the data on Farook's phone and no longer required assistance from Apple. Thus, it was a win-win situation. The feds get their data, and Apple does not have to risk the privacy of all iPhone users world wide. But the battle will still go on. Last month, a federal magistrate judge in the Eastern District of New York refused a government request to force Apple to open an Apple iPhone 5s to release information in a drug case in Brooklyn. The Justice Department is appealing that ruling.
The government is remaining silent on how it unlocked Farook's iPhone 5c. Late last week, there was some talk that Israeli software company Cellebrite had entered into a $15,000 contract with the FBI for the purpose of opening the phone, but that has not been confirmed. Some believe that Apple should be given the opportunity to find out how the phone was opened so that it can close the opening and make the phone secure again. But considering how badly the government wanted to unlock this phone, and how it might need to unlock more iPhones in the future, we don't expect the government to be open to that suggestion.
Now that the phone has been opened, the Justice Department has officially dropped its legal case against Apple.