The U.S. Government filed a motion this afternoon requesting that Tuesday’s hearing in the case versus Apple be vacated to give the government time to test a possible third-party approach to cracking the security on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.
The full motion can be read here. Right now, we don’t know who the “outside party” is or what its approach may be, but if its method is successful, the whole battle between Apple and the FBI may become a moot point. The biggest takeaway is that if the government finds a way into the phone, it won’t need Apple’s assistance at all.
The government filed a motion to vacate the hearing scheduled for Tuesday at around 2:45 p.m. today, and Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym granted the request a few hours later. The government wants to postpone any more legal proceedings until April 5, giving it time to test the “outside party’s” method of cracking the iPhone. On April 5, it said it would file a “status report,” which would probably explain whether or not it was successful.
Melanie Newman, the Department of Justice spokeswoman, delivered a statement shortly after the motion was filed.
“Our top priority has always been gaining access into the phone used by the terrorist in San Bernardino. With this goal in mind, the FBI has continued in its efforts to gain access to the phone without Apple’s assistance, even during a month-long period of litigation with the company. As a result of these efforts, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI this past weekend a possible method for unlocking the phone. We must first test this method to ensure that it doesn’t destroy the data on the phone, but we remain cautiously optimistic. That is why we asked the court to give us some time to explore this option. If this solution works, it will allow us to search the phone and continue our investigation into the terrorist attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 people.”