The Federal Bureau of Investigation yesterday filed a motion to delay a case that would allow it to bypass the encryption or passcode security mechanisms of a work device owned by a perpetrator of the 2015 San Bernardino shootings.

The FBI has instead decided to work through a “third party” group to crack the iPhone, despite originally demanding Apple’s participation in court.

The move followed months of back and forth between the FBI and Apple Inc. In February 2016 a US federal judge called for Apple’s co-operation in law enforcement. The FBI insisted the device, a 2013 iPhone 5c, could potentially hold further information regarding the motives behind the terrorist attack that killed 14 people and seriously injured 22 others in 2015.

Apple iPhone devices can be customised to automatically delete data after a number of incorrect passcode attempts, although the FBI argued custom software could be built by Apple to circumvent the limit.


Commentators claim the FBI underestimated Apple’s public relations abilities. Open letters, US network television interviews and further attacks on the government by Apple dictated public opinion and media output.

Just a day before a scheduled hearing, which was set to take place on the March 22, Apple strategically launched new devices alongside an attack on the case.

“We built the iPhone for you, our customers. We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government, but we believe strongly that we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and your privacy,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

While public feedback was not always positive, corporate feedback clearly sided with Apple in the case. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and 10 other tech outfits filed legal briefs in support of Apple. Tech leaders also took to Twitter to show support for Apple. Google CEO, Sundar Pichai:

There is no word on how the “third party” will bypass device security.