The first battle between US tech giant Apple and the US Justice System over access to the San Bernardino iPhone ended when the FBI found another way to hack into the device — without legally forcing Apple to develop software to do it for them.
A day before the case was due in court; the FBI admitted paying a third party US$1.2 million to unlock the phone for them and withdrew its application.
The latest example of the FBI backing off away from legal action came just days before it was due in court in Brooklyn, New York to argue its case for forcing Apple to unlock another iPhone belonging to an alleged drug dealer.
A letter to US district judge Margo K Brodie stated that it didn't need Apple's help because someone had provided them with code to unlock the iPhone.
"Yesterday evening, an individual provided the passcode to the iPhone at issue in this case. Late last night, the government used that passcode by hand and gained access to the iPhone."
"Accordingly, the government no longer needs Apple's assistance to unlock the iPhone, and withdraws its application."
Instead of setting a legal precedent by taking Apple to court and winning the right to force the tech giant to unlock an iPhone, it appears the US government is no longer using courts to force Apple to breach its own security features and unlock cell phones - but break them themselves.
The battle between the FBI and Apple in the US may be over for a second time — but the debate over privacy and encryption continues.