An FBI official on Monday said that the Justice Department is expected to withdraw its legal action against Apple Inc., as early as Monday, citing an outside method to bypass the locking function of the San Bernardino terrorist’s phone.
The official stated that the alternate method to hack into the phone’s contents to gather evidence came to the attention of the FBI earlier this month. Prior to this ‘new discovery’ the US government’s official position was to compel Apple to produce software that provides backdoor access to the phone of Syed Farook, the shooter in the 2015 San Bernardino attack that left 14 dead.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said of the Justice Department’s request that it would open all of Apple’s iPhone users up to mass government surveillance saying that the new software could be transmitted to phones by the US government without users even knowing it.
The move comes after a request last week by the Justice Department to postpone a Tuesday hearing at the federal court in Riverside, California citing the possibility of an alternative method.
Court watchers see the government’s refusal to pursue the matter as evidence that Justice Department officials expected to lose the case and were concerned about a precedent being set against US surveillance.