Citing new lead, US govt draws back in battle with Apple

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Los Angeles (AFP) – The US Justice Department on Monday filed a request to postpone a crucial hearing with Apple on accessing the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino attackers, citing new leads in the case.

“On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking (Syed) Farook’s iPhone,” prosecutors said in a filing.

“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 the assistance from Apple Inc. set forth in the All Writs Act Order in this case.”

Prosecutors requested that Tuesday’s hearing before a federal judge in California be cancelled in order to allow time for testing the new method, and proposed filing a status report with the court by April 5.

The high-stakes case has pitted Apple against the FBI, which sought the tech giant’s help in unlocking the iPhone of Farook, who, along with his wife, was behind the December 2 terror attack in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead.

The US Justice Department files a request to postpone a crucial hearing with Apple on accessing the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino attackers, citing new leads in the case
Copyright AFP/File Philippe Huguen

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