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Justice Department Unlocks Shooter's iPhone


A man holds up his iPhone during a rally in support of data privacy outside an Apple store in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 23, 2016. Protesters strongly criticized a court order telling Apple to help unlock an encrypted iPhone. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

A man holds up his iPhone during a rally in support of data privacy outside an Apple store in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 23, 2016. Protesters strongly criticized a court order telling Apple to help unlock an encrypted iPhone. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)


The United States Justice Department says it has found a way to get information from an iPhone used by a shooter in last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

The Justice Department also said it no longer needs help from the iPhone’s manufacturer, Apple.

The company had refused earlier demands by federal investigators for help in recovering data from the device.

The government sought to require Apple to write new software programs to help investigators get the data without knowing the iPhone’s password. The government believed the information would help it in its investigation of the San Bernardino shooting, in which 14 people were killed.

Last month, a judge ordered Apple to help the government. But the Justice Department announced this week it has been able to collect data from the phone. It asked the judge to cancel her order. She did so on Monday.

Last week, the government delayed another court hearing in the case. Officials said they needed time to test a method that could help them gain access to the iPhone without Apple’s assistance. That method was developed without the help of federal agents or Apple.

Lawyers for Apple have said that the company wants to know how the device was unlocked.

But the withdrawal of the court process could take away Apple’s ability to legally request details on the method the government used. It also is likely to raise questions among users of Apple products and the technology industry about the strength of Apple’s security on its devices.

I’m Caty Weaver.

VOANews.com reported this story from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

data – n. information such as texts, audio recordings, video recordings and pictures

password – n. a secret series of numbers or letters that allows you to use a computer system or device

gain access – expression to enter a place or the storage area of an electronic device

unlock – v. to make (something) available for use

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