“U.S. judge on Monday expressed strong doubts that he had the legal authority to order Apple Inc to access data on a locked iPhone that was seized as part of a federal investigation,” Brendan Pierson reports for Reuters. “‘What you’re asking them to do is do work for you,’ U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein told government attorneys at a hearing in Brooklyn federal court.”

“Saritha Komatireddy, arguing for the government, said the order it sought would essentially be the same as ordering Apple to turn over information,” Pierson reports. “But Orenstein said the request went further than that. He instead compared the order the government sought to one compelling a drug company to make a lethal injection drug over its conscientious objection, asking Komatireddy whether he would have the authority to do that. Komatireddy asked to respond in writing, adding that ‘the hypothetical is somewhat inflammatory.’ ‘Purposefully so,’ Orenstein responded.”

“Komatireddy also questioned whether unlocking the phone would really be a burden for Apple, noting the company ‘has been doing this for years without any objection.’ Orenstein later pressed Apple’s lawyer, Marc Zwillinger, to explain the company’s change of heart,” Pierson reports. “Zwillinger said the company had become more concerned about customer data in light of recent high-profile data breaches. ‘Right now Apple is aware that customer data is under siege from a variety of different directions,’ he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last month:

Because the U.S. government spooks trampled all over the U.S. Constitution, constantly demanding that Apple grant access to customers devices, Apple decided to remove themselves for the equation. And so, the government reaps what it hath sown. We guess law enforcement will have to get off their asses and do some old-fashioned leg work if they want to crack cases.

SEE ALSO:
US DOJ claims Apple lacks legal standing to refuse iPhone unlock order – October 23, 2015
Apple tells U.S. judge it can’t unlock iPhones running iOS 8 or higher – October 20, 2015
a href=”http://macdailynews.com/2015/10/20/apple-ceo-cook-defends-encryption-opposes-back-door-for-government-spies/”>Apple CEO Cook defends encryption, opposes back door for government spies – October 20, 2015
With Apple court order, activist federal judge seeks to fuel debate about data encryption – October 12, 2015
Judge declines to order Apple to disable security on device seized by U.S. government – October 10, 2015
Apple refused to give iMessages to the U.S. government – September 8, 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