UPDATE: A judge has granted the government's request, meaning that Tuesday's hearing is officially canceled.
The US government has asked that its hearing with Apple regarding an iPhone 5c that belonged to a San Bernardino shooter be vacated. The hearing was scheduled to take place tomorrow, March 22. In its filing, the government says that on March 20, “an outside party” showed the FBI a way that it might be able to get into the iPhone 5c without Apple’s help and without compromising the data on the iPhone.
“On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone. 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 assistance from Apple Inc. (“Apple”) set forth in the All Writs Act Order in this case.
“Accordingly, to provide time for testing the method, the government hereby requests that the hearing set for March 22, 2016 be vacated. The government proposes filing a status report with the court by April 5, 2016.”
Apple has yet to comment on the government’s request.
This news is a big deal for Apple because it means that the company may not have to get involved in a long court battle over the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. There’s already been some back-and-forth between Apple and the government, with Apple referring to the software that the government wants it to create as “GovtOS,” and the government suggesting that Apple is simply opposing the government’s request for help for marketing reasons. Now we have to wait and see if the government can get into Farook’s iPhone like it wants to.