F.B.I. May Have Put Down Sword, but Privacy Debate Goes On

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 5.27.23 PMWednesday, April 6, 2016

The immediate fight between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation over opening a locked iPhone used by one of the attackers in last year’s San Bernardino, Calif., rampage is over. But the effects of the case linger.

On Tuesday, two developments showed that the debate touched off by the case — weighing digital privacy against national security — is still going on.

In one, the F.B.I.’s top lawyer gave an update on the San Bernardino attacker’s iPhone, which the agency was eventually able to crack with the help of an unidentified third party. James A. Baker, the bureau’s general counsel, said the F.B.I. had extracted data from the device and was putting it to use, without answering whether the information was useful to the San Bernardino investigation, Eric Lichtblau writes.

At the same time, WhatsApp, the messaging app owned by Facebook, said it had fully encrypted all communications on its service, Mike Isaac writes. The move thrust WhatsApp deeper into a debate about digital data — with more encryption of everything, including photos, videos and group texts — that will only make it harder for law enforcement to get information from the messaging company. All of which is to say, the push-pull between tech companies and the federal government over access to digital data and communications is far from over.

The F.B.I. is trying to force Apple to help investigators gain access to an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook in the December mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.

F.B.I. Lawyer Won’t Say if Data From Unlocked iPhone Is Useful | James A. Baker, the F.B.I.’s general counsel, said the bureau was still working on putting the extracted data to use.

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is putting

WhatsApp Introduces End-to-End Encryption | The encryption will be applied to photos, videos and group text messages sent among people in more than 50 languages.