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Radio News: Justice Department breaks into iPhone without Apple

Mar 28, 2016 9:24 pm
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Wired and others reported that the Justice Department dropped its lawsuit with Apple over breaking into an iPhone belonging to one of the alleged San Bernardino shooters, after they found a way to hack it themselves. The Justice Department asked a California court March 28 to vacate its previous order commanding Apple to create a software tool to help authorities break into the phone. “The government has asked a United States Magistrate Judge in Riverside, California to vacate her order compelling Apple to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. “Our decision to conclude the litigation was based solely on the fact that, with the recent assistance of a third party, we are now able to unlock that iPhone without compromising any information on the phone…. Although this step in the investigation is now complete, we will continue to explore every lead, and seek any appropriate legal process, to ensure our investigation collects all of the evidence related to this terrorist attack.” The same day The Washington Post reported about a study that shows government surveillance causes people to self-censor their dissenting opinions online. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly published the study that showed that the majority of participants reacted by suppressing opinions that they perceived to be in the minority, when they were aware of government surveillance. How did the study work: "Participants in the study were first surveyed about their political beliefs, personality traits and online activity, to create a psychological profile for each person. A random sample group was then subtly reminded of government surveillance, followed by everyone in the study being shown a neutral, fictional headline stating that U.S. airstrikes had targeted the Islamic State in Iraq. Subjects were then asked a series of questions about their attitudes toward the hypothetical news event, such as how they think most Americans would feel about it and whether they would publicly voice their opinion on the topic," the Post reported. Elizabeth Stoycheff, lead researcher of the study and assistant professor at Wayne State University, said, “So many people I've talked with say they don't care about online surveillance because they don't break any laws and don't have anything to hide. And I find these rationales deeply troubling,” she said. “The fact that the 'nothing to hide' individuals experience a significant chilling effect speaks to how online privacy is much bigger than the mere lawfulness of one's actions. It's about a fundamental human right to have control over one's self-presentation and image, in private, and now, in search histories and metadata,” she said.