The Justice Department is expected to withdraw from its legal action against Apple, as soon as today, as an outside method to bypass the locking function of a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone has proved successful, a federal law enforcement official said Monday.
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.
Monday’s withdrawal would culminate six weeks of building tensions.
The foes were poised to exchange legal body blows in a court room in Riverside, Calif., last week before the Justice Department belatedly asked for — and was granted — a postponement.
Since a federal magistrate in California in mid-February ordered the company to assist the FBI in gaining access to San Bernardino terrorist Syed 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.
This month, Apple said the “Founding Fathers would be appalled” because the government’s order to unlock the iPhone was based on non-existent authority asserted by the DOJ.