From the beginning, the real problem of the whole Apple v. FBI case came down to decrypting an iPhone 5c that belonged to Syed Farook, one of the suspected shooters who killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. The FBI and a magistrate judge ordered Apple to assist investigators in doing so. Apple has since been fighting against that order.
Bullet point for bullet point, the rhetoric has flown fast between the two sides and the court of public opinion took its sways. But it could be that the underlying issue that triggered the potential question of whether privacy trumps security in the Constitution may be solved outside of court.
CNET News Editor-in-Chief Connie Guglielmo has obtained a request from the Justice Department to vacate a hearing in the case set for tomorrow. It is asking for the time to test a possible technique that may successfully gain the agency access to that iPhone 5c.
— Connie Guglielmo (@techledes) March 21, 2016
If the hacking community has proven robust enough to provide decryption to the iPhone, the FBI may decide to void the original order it sent to Apple, rendering all of this hullabaloo over and done with. If not, the case proceeds with the government planning on filing a status report on April 5.
Update: Bloomberg is reporting that Judge Sheri Pym has granted the request.
US asking to delay Apple/FBI hearing set for tmrw to test possible other methods for unlocking iPhone via @business
— Emily Chang (@emilychangtv) March 21, 2016
Update 2: BuzzFeed News Legal Editor Chris Geidner is reporting that Judge Pym has stayed the All Writs Act order tacked on Apple.
BREAKING: In addition to canceling hearing, judge STAYED the All Writs Act order previously issued against Apple. pic.twitter.com/t4FvzmUfNy
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) March 22, 2016
Apple’s lawyers held a conference call for the press this evening. They say that the case would be rendered moot if the government successfully decrypts the iPhone on its own. If the case continues, the lawyers would demand details about the decrypting technique the FBI claimed it received from a third party on March 20 and will be testing.
Source: Original hearing