FBI may have dropped one iPhone case against Apple, but the battle is far from over

The Justice Department says that security features on a San Bernardino attacker's iPhone were bypassed by an 'outside party', making that one important government case against Apple moot. But many other similar cases, including other cases involving Apple, are going forward. The war on your phone's security is just beginning.

The FBI says it received assistance hacking the terrorist's phone from a mysterious "outside party" just a few days before suddenly dropping its unprecedented demand that Apple re-write the iPhone operating system to backdoor the encryption that protects iPhones from surveillance.

"While this is an undeniable win for both security and civil liberties, it's almost certainly only temporary," writes Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm in The Guardian:

That's because the battle between the Department of Justice and Apple is far from over – it's probably just begun. The agency merely dropped its most well-known case; there are at least a dozen other similar legal fights open against Apple around the country, and those are just the ones we know about.

So far, there is no evidence that the FBI plans on abandoning the others, despite the agency's apparent new-found ability to break into at least some versions of the iPhone without Apple's assistance. Judging by the statement released to the press on Monday night, it sounds like they plan on pressing forward even harder.

"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 cooperation from relevant parties, or through the court system when cooperation fails," a justice department spokesman said. "We will continue to pursue all available options for this mission, including seeking the cooperation of manufacturers and relying upon the creativity of both the public and private sectors."

They failed to mention how their quest to leave no technology un-surveillable puts the security of everyone's devices at risk – or how the law doesn't allow them to do what they are attempting. But "pursue all available options" they will.

And their efforts will likely make the entire process even less democratic than it already is. Instead of attempting to ask Congress for a bill to ban the implementation of end-to-end encryption, which they probably know is a non-starter given public resistance, they may now be incentivized to take their fight even further into the shadows, using government secrecy to obscure their actions from the public.

Read the rest at The Guardian.