The authorities now have until 5 April to decide whether they want to pursue the case. In the meantime, Apple’s attorneys said they did not consider this turn of events a legal victory and admitted they could find themselves back in the same situation in a couple weeks. However, Apple’s lawyers had to admit they were quite surprised to learn of this development.
The announcement of finding the potential solution raises some questions: firstly, if the FBI figures out a way to hack into iPhone, it is obligated to reveal the security flaw used to get inside? Apple’s attorneys said they would demand the agency share its methods in case of a successful hack. Of course, Apple is likely to then patch such a flaw.
Previously, the government insisted that only Apple was technically able to get inside the iPhone and asked the company to use an official Apple software update to turn off some security features. Indeed, it’s been many weeks of heated insistence that the only way the US authorities could get into a locked iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter was for Apple to create new software that would be missing some of its security features. Reportedly, the FBI was recently approached by an “outside party” unaffiliated with the government who offered a prospective path into the phone without Apple’s help. The government decided to test the method and then file a report with the court.