An Order requiring that Apple assist in the investigation of the San Bernardino shooting by disabling a feature that would auto-erase one of the shooter’s iPhone will soon be vacated. The Order had been immediately challenged by Apple in the press. After a massive filing from Apple and various amicus briefs, the government today filed a Status Report claiming that it “successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. mandated by Court’s Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search dated February 16, 2016.” As a result, the government requested “that the Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search dated February 16, 2016 be vacated.”
It is not known what methods were used to access the encrypted data of this particular iPhone 5C but several assumptions can be made. First, the various offers by the private sector guaranteeing access to the data might not have been mere bluster. Second, this Apple feud will eventually be used as fodder when the Privacy Shield is eventually tested in a European Court. And finally, the government will be back at some point seeking similar relief from a Court.