Apple’s legal battle with the FBI took a rather unexpected turn on Monday when the Justice Department convinced a federal court to cancel Tuesday’s highly anticipated hearing on whether Apple should be forced to help the FBI break through the iPhone’s encryption. The reason for this is that the Justice Department may have found a way to break through the iPhone’s encryption without Apple’s assistance, and it’s currently testing out whether or not this method works without compromising the data it’s trying to acquire.
Citing a new possible way to access a locked iPhone used by a shooter in the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the Justice Department on Monday convinced a federal court to cancel a Tuesday hearing on whether Apple should be forced to help the FBI break into the device. Government lawyers had insisted for months they needed Apple to write special software so the FBI could bypass security features on the iPhone being used by the San Bernardino shooter, Syed Farook, and obtain what could be critical information for their ongoing terrorism investigation. But the Justice Department unexpectedly told the court just hours before a scheduled hearing that it may not need Apple’s assistance after all. “On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone,” federal prosecutors said in a filing Monday afternoon. “Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone. If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc. (‘Apple’) set forth in the All Writs Act Order in this case.”