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Apple Gets One Win for iPhone Privacy
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Summary: A New York drug case has been denied the request to have Apple hack an iPhone confiscated as evidence.

As Apple fights an order by the government to create a program to hack the phones of the San Bernardino shooters, one federal magistrate judge denied the request to have the cell phone maker hack an iPhone in a New York drug case. This will prove to be a big help for Apple as the fight for the privacy rights of iPhone consumers.


See Why Is Apple Refusing to Unlock the San Bernardino Shooter’s Phone? to learn more on the Apple vs FBI case.

Judge James Orenstein of the New York Eastern District is the first to rule on how far the government can go to require cell phone makers like Apple to go to open up devices. Judge Orenstein heavily used the 1789 All Writs Act statute. The statute is very broad in its use of allowing courts to require others to comply with their orders that are not covered by laws. He included his doubts on whether the statute would be considered constitutional if adopted.

Read Apple Fights for Their Constitutional Rights to understand the constitutional rights at risk.

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The Justice Department has stated they plan to ask for a review on the decision. Apple had previously agreed to help open the iPhone for this case and has complied with all other All Writs Act requests. They argued, “This phone may contain evidence that will assist us in an active criminal investigation, and we will continue to use the judicial system in our attempt to obtain it.”

The request in this case was a “simple routine request for assistance in carrying out a valid search warrant issued by a federal court, as Apple has done so many times before,” according to Brooklyn federal prosecutor Saritha Komatireddy. The judge found it surprising that Apple has never objected to the 70 previous requests on other similar cases.

Despite the fact that Apple had never objected before, Orenstein ruled that the government cannot use the All Writs Act against Apple because another law, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, addresses the same issues but excludes specifying information services companies.




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