Yesterday, the government made a surprising retreat in the San Bernardino encryption case, after an unnamed source revealed a new method of breaking iPhone lockscreen protections. After a hastily assembled conference call, the parties agreed to put the court order on hold until it could be determined whether Apple’s help was still necessary.
But excerpts from a court transcript of that proceeding, published here for the first time, show the government was far less prepared for the new method than some have assumed. “We only learned about this possibility today, this morning,” Assistant US Attorney Tracy Wilkison told the judge in the conference call. “We have a good faith basis at this point in order to bring it up.” That timeline is consistent with recent court filings, which show the first successful demonstration of the method coming that Sunday.
What a weird story. Jonathan Zdziarksi has a theory about the supposed hack.