Apple Fights Government Demand to Unlock iPhone in New York Drug Case

Following the U.S. Department of Justice's decision to dismiss its lawsuit against Apple after it managed to access the iPhone 5c of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, the agency announced its intention to continue on with a similar New York lawsuit where it is attempting to get Apple's help to breach an iPhone 5s used in a drug case.

In a filing this afternoon, Apple again refused to help the DOJ gain access to the device in question and asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming the government has not proven that it has exhausted all other means of getting the data. There are specific references made to the San Bernardino case, where the FBI did manage to find another way into the iPhone without involving Apple. Via The Wall Street Journal:
"The government has utterly failed to demonstrate that the requested order is necessary to effectuate the search warrant, including that it exhausted all other avenues for recovering the information it seeks,'' Apple argued in the new filing to U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie. "Before the government demands that Apple do the work of law enforcement, the government must offer evidence that it has performed an 'exhaustive search' and that it remains unable to obtain the data it seeks without Apple's assistance.''
According to Apple, the FBI has not adequately demonstrated that the method it used to gain access to the iPhone 5c used by Syed Farook does not work on the Brooklyn iPhone 5s. Apple also argues the FBI has not proven it has consulted with the third party that helped with the San Bernardino iPhone or other third parties that could provide assistance.

iPhone 5s
In late February, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein ruled the FBI lacked the legal authority to force Apple to breach the New York iPhone, but the U.S. Justice Department filed a formal appeal in early March in an effort to turn over the ruling, which is what Apple is responding to with today's filing.

In the New York case, which dates back to October 2015, the FBI is aiming to access data on an iPhone 5s belonging to Brooklyn drug dealer Jun Feng. While the FBI employed the help of "professional hackers" to access the iPhone 5c in the California case, FBI Director James Comey has said the method used to gain entry to that device does not work on the iPhone 5s or later.

The iPhone 5s in question is running an earlier version of iOS (iOS 7) that Apple does have the means to access, but Apple is refusing to do so after taking a stronger stance on encryption and customer privacy. While Apple can obtain data from that particular iPhone 5s, it does not have the means to do so on devices running iOS 8 or iOS 9 due to a change in its encryption methods.

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47 months ago
That's it, folks. The government is going to keep trying and trying and trying until they get their way and set a precedent, or manage to ram laws through and ruin the security of our devices forever.

They've made it clear they want to do this. I just hope we can hold things off for as long as possible.
Rating: 10 Votes
47 months ago

Be glad you've got our government and not one of the others.


And if we don't get pissed and up in arms with the stuff our government does do, then we will turn into the other 2-bit dictatorships.
Rating: 7 Votes
47 months ago
Apple should not need to defend themselves full stop.

It is wrong for any government to break into a phone with Apple's help. I regard any attempt by the US government to do so as criminal and hold them to account. Anyone found guilty of attempting to break into a phone on behalf of the government should be stripped of their duties and imprisoned. They will have a criminal record for the rest of their life.
Rating: 7 Votes
47 months ago


According to Apple, the FBI has not adequately demonstrated that the method it used to gain access to the iPhone 5c used by Syed Farook does not work on the Brooklyn iPhone 5s.


Are they trying to get the FBI to disclose the method? :)
Rating: 6 Votes
47 months ago

Apple should not need to defend themselves full stop.

It is wrong for any government to break into a phone with Apple's help. I regard any attempt by the US government to do so as criminal and hold them to account. Anyone found guilty of attempting to break into a phone on behalf of the government should be stripped of their duties and imprisoned. They will have a criminal record for the rest of their life.

Seriously. It's almost like the government expects Apple to allocate a whole department of resources just to help law enforcement, to sort of be their personal locksmith. But will they compensate Apple? No. They're just strong arming them.
Rating: 5 Votes
47 months ago

Seriously. It's almost like the government expects Apple to allocate a whole department of resources just to help law enforcement, to sort of be their personal locksmith. But will they compensate Apple? No. They're just strong arming them.

FEDGOV has arbitrary and capricious rulemaking authority with very limited judicial overview. Research my words.

Rocketman
[doublepost=1460770441][/doublepost]The standard of conduct in law is you cannot conscript a person, natural or corporate, to do your bidding even if you pay them a fee, but espicially if you do not. Citizen rights are presumed not bestowed or granted by FEDGOV!!
Rating: 4 Votes
47 months ago
Yep. Just like its always done. Point to the boogeyman du jour, Nazis, Communists, Satanists, Terrorists, get your unconstitutional extraordinary powers granted for worst-case scenarios in fighting them, then immediately turn around, point at the drug law charade and apply those powers to the general public, abusing them as desired.

Nothing changes.
Rating: 3 Votes
47 months ago
i'll never believe a word this miserable, ****** government of ours says
Rating: 3 Votes
47 months ago

Actually, yes. The San Bernardino court order explicitly says that the FBI has to pay Apple for its help.
[doublepost=1460775196][/doublepost]On a more general note, Apple is pushing back against the FBI's appeal of Judge Orenstein's denial.

But we need to be careful that the FBI does not get to vacate that ruling. It's a major step in the right direction - a well-reasoned critique of the FBI's position. It would be terrible if the FBI managed to get it withdrawn.

Thanks for the clarification about payment. I still feel like the government is trying to "draft" Apple into its service indefinitely. Court cases will be endless because crime is endless. Either Apple will be forced to create a permanent backdrop for the government or dedicate a full time crew to hack their own hardware and software every time the government waves a court order at them.
[doublepost=1460811544][/doublepost]

So Apple is admitting that there are ways to get the data and FBI can figure it out by themselves. Apple know there is way and refuse to help law enforcement.

So it turns out iPhone is not that secure and Apple want to help criminals. It is just Apple is pretending they care about your data, it is all perfect PR stunt

I hate terrorists and drug lords and human traffickers as much as anybody else. But there's something I fear about the government even more. And as for the FBI and at least three people I know who work there in prominent positions...lets just say my faith in their ethics and judgement as an organization is clouded by my knowledge of these three people.

Two, I've known for decades and I don't have all day to list all that's wrong with their characters, such as backstabbing and a habit of skating on other people's hard work. The third was an agent who barged into my home without a warrant just to question me about a neighbor for a simple security clearance for employment. I was leaving to go out and there he was, just walked into my garage flashing his ID, backing me with my toddler up to our kitchen door. He's lucky I didn't kill him, as was my first inclination for strange men barging into my house without invitation when I have children to protect. It would be too long to go into what he said to me but he was smug about knowing very personal details about all the neighbors on my street and taunting me with that knowledge because he was frustrated I knew so little about the neighbor he came to question me about!

He was arrogant and creepy and I told him so. I told my husband about the incident and he told me of the threats and bullying he got at work at various times from FBI agents who wanted him to drop everything and step out of important meetings just so they, too, could ask questions about former employees for security clearances. They didn't have the logic or decency to simply call for an appointment like normal people.

This heavy handed bullying and intimidation from the FBI is just to ask questions for security clearances. I can only imagine what Apple management is going through. Tim Cook is my hero just for ticking them off.

And yes, the FBI should do their own work if they are capable of it. Apple is not in law enforcement. They make computers and such. They are not responsible for what criminals or grandmas do with it.
Rating: 3 Votes
47 months ago
The minute we don't have one of these stories each week is the week that we know Apple was issued a secret order to do something. Wonder how many weeks it will take.
Rating: 2 Votes

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