The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to withdraw its legal action in California seeking to force Apple to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, USA Today reported on Monday, citing an unnamed government official. U.S. officials said last week that they are hopeful they will be able to unlock the iPhone without help from Apple.
Per USA Today: “The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the method brought to the FBI earlier this month by an unidentified entity allows investigators to crack the security function without erasing contents of the iPhone used by Syed Farook, who with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out the December mass shooting that left 14 dead.”
Apple and the DOJ were slated to appear in court in Riverside, Calif., last week before the DOJ requested — and was granted — a postponement.
USA Today notes, “Once a federal magistrate in California in mid-February ordered the company to assist the FBI in gaining access to Farook’s seized iPhone, the legal filings and rhetoric between the world’s most valuable technology company and one of the largest crime-fighting organizations in the world had sharpened into verbal vitriol.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly fought the DOJ, calling the request akin to creating a “backdoor” into the iPhone. Apple fired back against the DOJ in court documents, calling the government’s order “neither grounded in the common law nor authorized by statute.'” To this, the DOJ told the court that Apple “deliberately raised technological barriers” between a warrant and the iPhone that authorities believe may contain additional evidence in the December mass shooting.
“It’s not about one phone. It’s very much about the future,” Cook said in an interview with Time last week. “You have a guy in Manhattan saying I’ve got a hundred and seventy-five phones that I want to take through this process. You’ve got other cases springing up all over the place where they want phones taken through the process. So it’s not about one phone, and they know it’s not about one phone.”