FBI to Keep Pushing for Court Order Forcing Apple to Unlock iPhone in N.Y. Case [Updated]

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iPhone-PasscodeThe U.S. Justice Department will continue pushing for a court order forcing Apple to help investigators unlock the iPhone 5s belonging to Brooklyn drug dealer Jun Feng, as part of a case that dates back to October 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“The government’s application is not moot, and the government continues to require Apple’s assistance in accessing the data that it is authorized to search by warrant,’’ the prosecutors write in a brief letter to U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie.

Like its recent high-profile standoff with the FBI over unlocking the passcode-protected iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook, Apple has said it "would be impossible" for the company to access data on a locked iPhone running iOS 8 or later without creating a modified software version, which it refuses to do.

In late February, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein ruled that the FBI lacked the legal authority to force Apple to bypass the iPhone's passcode, and that the prosecution's use of the 1789 All Writs Act was an unconstitutional overreach.

The U.S. Justice Department formally appealed the decision with U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie in early March in an effort to overturn Orenstein's ruling, and today's brief court filing reiterates that the FBI will not back down from its request without a fight.

While the FBI dropped its San Bernardino case with Apple after enlisting a private party to unlock the shooter's iPhone 5c, FBI director James Comey said earlier this week that the undisclosed method does not work on newer devices like the iPhone 5s or later.

Apple remains committed to device encryption and will continue fighting this legal matter.

Update: In Massachusetts, Apple has been ordered to help the FBI gain access to data on an iPhone belonging to a Boston gang member accused of shooting a rival gang member.

A judge originally gave the order for Apple to provide "reasonable technical assistance" to the FBI on February 1, but the case was just unsealed on April 8. Apple has not complied with the order.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

rdowns Avatar
61 months ago
It's only about one phone.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
madsci954 Avatar
61 months ago
FBI: Really, we're not trying to set a precedent. Just this one phone.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
VulchR Avatar
61 months ago
Again another attempt by the FBI to force a private company to do the FBI's dirty-work for them. I could see this being reasonable request if this was a simple matter of information, but not for creating new code.

EDIT: It just struck me...

FBI: we need access to the phone of a terrorist - it's life or death
FBI: we need access to the phone of a drug dealer - it's about crime
FBI: we need access to the phone of a political activist - it's about being American
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rdowns Avatar
61 months ago

Are you a suspected criminal under investigation?

This isn't about your phone.

Yeah, thats' the ticket. I must be one of those pedophile apologizers, right? :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
You are the One Avatar
61 months ago
What a charade. Law enforcement people have become so dumbed down they can't solve a crime unless there is a digital proof somewhere. Lazy idiots, do some real work instead.

Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
polterbyte Avatar
61 months ago

Are you a suspected criminal under investigation?

This isn't about your phone.

That's an utter misrepresentation of the point.

If you want to know what will happen if Apple ever develops an alternate version of iOS that allows for unlocking phones belonging only to "suspected criminals under investigation", read this article ('http://www.wired.com/2015/09/lockpickers-3-d-print-tsa-luggage-keys-leaked-photos/'). The TSA master key debacle is a blueprint scenario for the inevitable misuse of backdoors.

I, for one, don't think for a moment that such is an acceptable risk.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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