You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Apple Encryption Hearing Postponed After Last-Minute Government Intervention

The government may not need Apple’s help to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone after all: The Department of Justice revealed in a last-minute filing Monday that it may have found another way to unlock the iPhone in question, and asked a judge to postpone a hearing in its case against Apple that was scheduled to begin this Tuesday.

The court followed through on that request, and gave the government until April 5 to deliver an update on its efforts. The move clearly came as a surprise to Apple, which used its iPhone unveiling on Monday to further drum up support for its position.

During the press event, Apple CEO Tim Cook said it was imperative for the company to defend encryption. “We owe it to our customers, and we owe it to our country,” he said.

SEE MORE: Watch: John Oliver Rips Into Apple-FBI Encryption Fight

The postponed hearing — and the possibility of the government backing down — is just the latest twist in a very public spat between the Department of Justice and Apple that began when the FBI asked the tech company for help with its investigation of the San Bernardino shooting.

Apple gave prosecutors access to the iCloud account of one of the shooters, but the iPhone connected to the account hadn’t backed up any data for a few weeks before the attacks. That’s why the FBI asked Apple to write special software to help it hack the iPhone — a request that Apple declined. The Feds went to court, and won, but Apple appealed.

In its filing on Monday, the Justice Department claimed that it had been approached by a third party that had figured out another way into the device. This could make the whole case moot. But it also puts Apple into an uncomfortable position: The company had been claiming all along that secure encryption was essential to the iPhone. Now, the government essentially says that Apple’s encryption isn’t that secure at all.

In the end, the question of encryption, privacy and security in the digital age will likely be decided by Congress — and Apple seemed to prepare this week for just that, with Cook saying Monday: “We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and over our privacy.”

More Digital

  • Colin Kroll Dead Vine Obit

    HQ Trivia and Vine Co-Founder Colin Kroll Dies at 35

    Colin Kroll, co-founder of the Vine video app and the HQ Trivia game, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment early Sunday of an apparent drug overdose, Variety has confirmed. He was 35. New York Police Department officers responded at 12:18 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, to a call by Kroll’s girlfriend who was concerned about [...]

  • Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA Signs Gaming Influencers Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA has signed two popular live-streaming battle royale gamers — Nicholas Amyoony, better known as Nick Eh 30, and David Steinberg, aka StoneMountain64 — for representation. CAA said it will work to create opportunities for Nick Eh 30 (above left) and StoneMountain64 (above right) in all areas, including TV, motion pictures, touring, digital distribution and [...]

  • Amazon Adds NBA League Pass to

    Amazon Adds NBA League Pass Live-Streaming Games to Prime Video Channels

    Amazon is bringing pro hoops action to Prime Video Channels: The ecommerce giant now offers NBA League Pass as part of its lineup of 150-plus subscription options for Prime members in the U.S. It’s the first U.S. live-sports subscription service on Prime Video Channels. Prime members can subscribe to NBA League Pass via Prime Video [...]

  • Fifty Shades of Grey

    International Piracy Ring Stole Over 25,000 Movie and TV Digital Files, U.S. Feds Say

    A five-member international hacking crime ring stole more than 25,000 files for Hollywood movies and TV shows and illegally offered hundreds of them for sale online, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. A federal grand jury in L.A. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) indicted five men, identified as residing in the U.K., India, Dubai and Malaysia, [...]

  • Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president

    Apple to Update iPhones in China to Avoid Sales Ban

    Apple is pushing out a software update to iPhones in China to address a recent court order obtained by Qualcomm that banned the sale of certain iPhone models in the country. The update will allow the company to continue selling its phones in China, company representatives told Reuters Friday morning. The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court [...]

  • Kevin Reilly Variety Cover

    Kevin Reilly Named Content Chief for WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Kevin Reilly — a veteran television exec who has led programming at NBC, FX, Fox, and most recently Turner Broadcasting — has been tapped to head content strategy for the still-nascent streaming service that WarnerMedia plans to launch next year. Reilly, who has led programming at Turner brands TNT and TBS since 2015, will serve [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content