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FBI SAID THAT THEY MAY NOT NEED APPLE INC.’S HELP TO UNLOCK AN IPHONE IN THE SAN BERNARDINO TERROR ATTACK

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By Dan Bart | March 21, 2016 9:52 pm

A judge has canceled a high-profile hearing between Apple and the US government after the FBI made the surprise announcement it might have found its own way to hack an iPhone at the center of the legal dispute.

“We must first test this method to ensure it doesn’t destroy the data on the phone, but we remain cautiously optimistic,” US Department of Justice spokesperson Melanie Newman said in a statement to US media.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has refused, saying the government is overreaching. Apple has said in its filings that the government did not exhaust all its options, and lawmakers have criticized the FBI for not doing more to try to crack the iPhone itself before seeking Apple’s help.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has refused, saying the government is overreaching.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has refused, saying the government is overreaching.

The most viable method involves making a copy of the iPhone’s flash memory drive, said Jonathan Zdziarski, a computer expert who specializes in iPhone forensics. That would allow investigators to make multiple tries at guessing the iPhone’s passcode. A security feature in the phone is designed to automatically erase the data if someone makes 10 wrong guesses in a row.
Prosecutors had 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.

“It seems technologically doable so long as there is not something critical that we don’t know about Apple’s hardware,” ACLU staff attorney Alex Abdo said.

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