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FBI Has Sights on Larger Battle Over Encryption After Apple Feud

  • Terrorists are increasingly using end-to-end encryption tools
  • Facebook's encrypted WhatsApp has over 1 billion users

After buying a software tool to access a dead terrorist’s encrypted iPhone, the FBI is exploring how to make broader use of the hack while bracing for a larger battle involving encrypted text messages, e-mails and other data, Director James Comey said.

The tool used to get into the phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, who with his wife carried out a deadly December attack in San Bernardino, California, could "in theory be used in any case where there’s a court order" to access data on an iPhone 5c running Apple’s iOS 9 operating system, Comey told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.