Earlier this year, the story at the top of every news outlet’s roster was the case of the FBI vs. Apple. Long story short, the FBI was insisting that Apple create a backdoor for agents to be able to access the data on the attacker’s iPhone, citing that there may have been connections to other ISIS members on the phone and other various national security murmurs that have been going around Washington and through news syndicates for the last near-15 years in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Apple refused to do so, citing user security and customer trust as their two biggest reasons, and the FBI filed with the Department of Justice to force Apple to do it anyways. It’s been a Mexican standoff of sorts for the last month, but today, that standoff came to an end. Why? Because the FBI was able to get the data on its own with the help of an unnamed party.

Why this news is a surprise to anyone leaves much to be wondered. In years past, many groups have made it apparent that all you needed to do to hack into anything was to have enough processing power to execute your own bruteforce attacks on passwords or public presences, all the way down to the pranks pulled by Anonymous in their notorious DDoS attacks on entities such as the Church of Scientology and the Australian government. There are entire conventions dedicated to the latest in hacking, encryption, and cyber security, and it’s a matter of public record and knowledge that anyone can buy the tools needed to hack phones, extract their data, and then wipe them. None of that is black market knowledge. What this progression in the case of the FBI vs. Apple means is that encryption of data and the steps needed to protect it is now more of a case of public knowledge, and hopefully protections against the government will now come from private companies and individuals themselves instead of reliance of the United States to follow the rules it itself set out upon its inception.

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