Apple Stared Down The FBI And The FBI Just Blinked
In the case of FBI v. Apple, a hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Late on Monday afternoon, the government requested a postponement. I predict that this case is over. Here’s why.
1) The FBI saw the San Bernardino shooting as the perfect case for gaining a preferable legal ruling of their use of the All Writs Act.
2) The government picked the case, made it public and then aggressively took their case before both the public and Congress. Considering that the case dealt with a very recent, and very deadly, terroristic attack, I think the FBI was confident that they would win the public relations battle, perhaps win favorable legislation from Congress and most probably obtain a favorable legal precedent from the courts. They were wrong on all counts.
3) A hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Late Monday afternoon, the FBI went to the Judge and suggested that an outside party had shown them a possible new method for obtaining information from the iPhone without Apple’s assistance. They requested additional time to explore this option. The judge granted their request.
4) The government’s claim that there might be another way to obtain information from the phone was completely contrary to what the FBI had been saying over and over again in their Pleadings. The FBI had, in fact, steadfastly insisted that Apple, and only Apple, could gain access to the contents of the phone. That was the foundation of their case.
5) In addition to granting the government’s request for a delay, Judge Pym put an indefinite stay on her order. In other words, she put her order on hold — possibly forever. At the urging of the government, the Judge scheduled an evidentiary hearing for April 5, 2016.
Here’s my take. Apple can’t say this, but I can.
What’s going to happen is, on April 5, the government is going to give a status report and — surprise, surprise — they’re going to announce that they have miraculously found another way into the iPhone in question and the government won’t be needing Apple’s assistance after all. ((At least not for now.)) The case will, for all intents and purposes, be over.
The FBI went eyeball to eyeball with Apple and the FBI blinked first. The FBI realized that they were about to lose and perhaps lose badly. Rather than risk generating an unfavorable precedent, they will simply declare victory and then get the heck out.