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FBI May Have Found a Way into Terrorist's iPhone

(CNN MONEY) On the eve of a court showdown with Apple, the Department of Justice wants to cancel the hearing, saying it may have found a way into the iPhone of Syed Farook, the gunman in the San Bernardino shooting.

The DOJ has been pressuring Apple for help in gaining access to Farook's iPhone.

But in a court filing on Monday, the DOJ said it may no longer need Apple.

"On Sunday, March 20, 2016, an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook's iPhone. If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc."

Federal investigators want to see what data is available on the iPhone, but it is permanently locked. They can't try to guess the passcode, because if its self-destruct feature is turned on, it will erase its key after 10 incorrect passcode attempts.

The FBI wants Apple to create special software that will let it bypass the phone's security protocols so it can try endless password combinations.

A judge in February ruled Apple must comply with the government's request, and the DOJ and Apple were due back before that judge on Tuesday after a month of legal briefings.

Apple (AAPLTech30) has been fighting that order. Its central argument: Removing the security protection in this case would create a "backdoor" that could potentially allow the government or hackers break into similar iPhones.

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