“A federal judge in New York is seeking to expand to the courts the hot debate over whether tech companies should be forced to find ways to unlock encrypted smartphones and other devices for law enforcement,” Ellen Nakashima reports for The Washington Post.

“Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York released an order Friday that suggests he would not issue a ­government-sought order to compel the tech giant Apple to unlock a customer’s smartphone,” Nakashima reports. “But before he can rule, the judge said, he wants Apple to explain whether the government’s request would be ‘unduly burdensome.'”

“Orenstein, one of a handful of magistrates across the country who are activists in the surveillance debate, is trying to stoke a similar discussion on encryption, colleagues and analysts say,” Nakashima reports. “But Orenstein may have chosen the wrong case with which to start a debate. Law enforcement officials said Saturday that the device at issue is a phone that runs on an older version of Apple’s operating system that Apple can unlock.”

“The national debate began last year when Apple started offering encryption on its newest smartphones that could be unlocked only by the device’s owner,” Nakashima reports. “Orenstein directed Apple to submit its views no later than Thursday. He also invited the government and the company, if either party wished, to present oral arguments on the matter on Oct. 22.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: An activist judge who supports citizens’ privacy rights would need to make such as move with an iPhone running iOS 8 or later which Apple simply cannot open even if so ordered.

Regardless of whether we agree with activist judges (isn’t that the legislative branch’s job?), the U.S. government should adhere to the U.S. Constitution.

Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

Edward Snowden explains why Apple should continue to fight the government on encryption – August 1, 2015
Obama administration war against Apple just got uglier – July 31, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
U.S. Senate blocks measures to extend so-called Patriot Act; NSA’s bulk collection of phone records in jeopardy – May 23, 2015
Rand Paul commandeers U.S. Senate to protest so-called Patriot Act, government intrusion on Americans’ privacy – May 20, 2015
Apple, others urge Obama to reject any proposal for smartphone backdoors – May 19, 2015
U.S. appeals court rules NSA bulk collection of phone data illegal – May 7, 2015
In open letter to Obama, Apple, Google, others urge Patriot Act not be renewed – March 26, 2015
Apple’s iOS encryption has ‘petrified’ the U.S. administration, governments around the world – March 19, 2015
Obama criticizes China’s demands for U.S. tech firms to hand over encryption keys, install backdoors – March 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015
Apple’s Tim Cook warns of ‘dire consequences’ of sacrificing privacy for security – February 13, 2015
DOJ warns Apple: iPhone encryption will lead to a child dying – November 19, 2014
Me-too Google: Uh, okay, we’ll do default encryption like Apple, too (it’ll just take several years to roll out) – September 18, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014