Breaking: FBI might have a way to unlock San Bernardino iPhone without Apple

Breaking: FBI might have a way to unlock San Bernardino iPhone without Apple

The FBI may have found a way to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone without Apple, possibly eliminating the need for the Cupertino, Calif. firm to build what it considers a backdoor into its devices completely.

The development led the Department of Justice (DOJ) to request that a Tuesday hearing to deal with forcing Apple to help the FBI crack the iPhone be postponed.

Apple told techradar a judge would make a decision on the postponement this afternoon. [Update: The DOJ’s request was granted.]

‘A possible method’

According to a filing by federal prosecutors, the FBI was shown "a possible method" to unlock the iPhone used by San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook over the weekend.

"On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone," the filing read.

"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."

In order to have time to test out the, the DOJ asked that the hearing be vacated. The government will file a status report by April 5.

What happens now?

Today’s revelation is a massive development in a case that’s pitted security and privacy advocates against one another, putting Apple in the middle of it all.

As a refresher, the FBI filed a court order to force Apple to build a special software to unlock Farook’s iPhone last month. Apple refused, saying the software would be a backdoor into the iPhone that would compromise the safety of hundreds of millions of users.

What’s followed has been a fierce battle between the two in the courts, both federal and of public opinion.

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