March 21, 2016

DOJ To Court: Hey, Can We Postpone Tomorrow’s Hearing? We Want To See If We Can Use This New Hole To Hack In

DOJ To Court: Hey, Can We Postpone Tomorrow’s Hearing? We Want To See If We Can Use This New Hole To Hack In | Techdirt

So, this morning we wrote about a new flaw found in the encryption in Apple’s iMessage system — though it was noted that this wouldn’t really have impacted what the FBI was trying to do to get into Syed Farook’s work iPhone. However, just a little while ago, the Justice Department asked the court to delay the big hearing planned for tomorrow afternoon, because of this newly disclosed vulnerability:
“Since the attacks in San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI) has continued to pursue all avenues available to discover all relevant evidence related to the attacks.

Specifically, since recovering Farook’s iPhone on December 3, 2015, the FBI has continued to research methods to gain access to the data stored on it. The FBI did not cease its efforts after this litigation began. As the FBI continued to conduct its own research, and as a result of the worldwide publicity and attention on this case, others outside the U.S. government have continued to contact the U.S. government offering avenues of possible research.

On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone. 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. (“Apple”) set forth in the All Writs Act Order in this case.

Accordingly, to provide time for testing the method, the government hereby requests that the hearing set for March 22, 2016 be vacated. The government proposes filing a status report with the Court by April 5, 2016.”
This could mean a variety of different things… including that the DOJ is looking for a way out” of this case without setting the precedent it doesn’t want, after discovering that the case and public opinion didn’t seem to be going the way the DOJ had hoped it was going to go when it first brought it last month. Either way, there’s never a dull moment in this case…

For some reason I couldn’t get the document link to open.


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Court transcript granting stay of Apple All Writs act order in California case. https://cryptome.org/2016/03/usg-apple-transcript-16-0321.pdf