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Federal Judge Rules In Favor of Apple: Will Not Unlock iPhone In Drug Case


Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, who has led Apple into a battle over privacy with the United States 


Justice Department request to order Apple to help law enforcement access data on a locked iPhone, in a ruling that bolsters the company’s arguments in a growing privacy fight with the government.

The government sought access to the phone in October, months before a judge in California ordered Apple to give the government access to the phone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, California, attacks.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein in Brooklyn ruled that he did not have the legal authority to order Apple to disable the security of an iPhone seized during a drug investigation.

The Justice Department is “disappointed” in Orenstein’s ruling and plans to ask a higher judge within the same federal district to review the matter in coming days, a department representative said.

Though the defendant in the case has already pleaded guilty, the Justice Department still believes the phone may contain evidence that “will assist us in an active criminal investigation,” the official said.

Ultimately, Judge Orenstein argued that the government couldn’t use the All Writs Act to ask Apple to help extract information from a device just because a different law, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or Calea, addresses the issue and does not include an “information services” company like Apple. Congress has been debating whether to amend Calea to include tech companies such as Apple, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google.




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