Government Showdown with Apple Delayed

In a stark reversal from its earlier position, the Justice Department on Monday backed down from its claim that Apple had the “exclusive technical means” to unlock an iPhone used by San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook, saying they may have another solution.

The two sides were scheduled to meet in court on Tuesday afternoon in Riverside, California.

Attorneys for the Department of Justice told Judge Sheri Pym—who earlier ordered Apple to design a way to weaken the phone’s security at the government’s request—that they might not need Apple’s help anymore.

“An outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone,” wrote the DOJ counsels. “Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone.”

It’s unclear who that third party is, though DOJ told reporters they don’t work for the government. The DOJ asked for two weeks to test the proposed method.

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