U.S. Feds: New judge must force iPhone unlock, overturning ruling that favored Apple

“As expected, federal prosecutors in an iPhone unlocking case in New York have now asked a more senior judge, known as a district judge, to countermand a magistrate judge who ruled in Apple’s favor last week,” Cyrus Farivar reports for Ars Technica. “Last week, US Magistrate Judge James Orenstein concluded that what the government was asking for went too far. In his ruling, he worried about a ‘virtually limitless expansion of the government’s legal authority to surreptitiously intrude on personal privacy.'”

“The case involves Jun Feng, a drug dealer who has already pleaded guilty, and his seized iPhone 5S running iOS 7. Prosecutors have said previously that the investigation was not over and that it still needed data from Feng’s phone,” Farivar reports. “As the government reminded the court, Apple does have the ability to unlock this phone, unlike the seized iPhone 5C in San Bernardino. Moreover, as Department of Justice lawyers note, Apple has complied numerous times previously.”

Farivar reports, “In its 51-page Monday filing, the government largely re-hashed its previous arguments, saying that existing law should force Apple’s assistance.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully the judge is as wise as U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein.

Oppose government overreach.

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The FBI’s case against Apple got kneecapped in Brooklyn: The judges rebuke couldn’t have been stronger – March 1, 2016
U.S. Magistrate Judge: The U.S. government cannot force Apple to unlock an iPhone in New York drug case – February 29, 2016
Verizon CEO McAdam supports strong encryption; Apple vs. FBI should be addressed by U.S. Congress – March 1, 2016
House Judiciary Committee members consider legal brief in support of Apple vs. U.S. government – March 1, 2016
Apple will tell Congress that strong encryption protects against terrorists – March 1, 2016
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa on Apple vs. FBI: Very scary when your government wants to know more about you – February 24, 2016
Apple CEO Cook decried Obama’s ‘lack of leadership’ on encryption during a closed-door meeting last month – February 29, 2016
Apple’s top lawyer: U.S. government order weakens security for all iPhones – February 29, 2016
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Apple CEO Cook picks up where Snowden left off in privacy debate – February 29, 2016
Obama administration set to expand sharing of data that N.S.A. intercepts – February 28, 2016
If Apple loses, your home could be the next thing that’s unlocked: Access to your security cameras would be just a judge order away – February 28, 2016
The Apple vs. FBI fight is about something more basic than software and laws – February 28, 2016
Apple privacy battle with Washington looms as watershed moment – February 26, 2016
Apple’s lawyer: If we lose, it will lead to a ‘police state’ – February 26, 2016
Apple: The law already exists that protects us from U.S. government demands to hack iPhone – February 26, 2016


  1. In the old days (a year or two ago) Apple spent its time devising new, insanely great products that the public dearly wanted. Now its resources and executive staff’s time are diverted to fighting court case after court case from our government.

    Is this a great country or what!

    1. He could if he wanted to, but if he doesn’t want to… Also, if there is something potentially incriminating on the phone the Fifth Amendment gives him the right not to accede to the government”s request.

    2. While the case was pending, they couldn’t get the password without violating the Fifth Amendment. However, when he indicated a willingness to change his plea to guilty, all they had to do was make providing the password a condition of the plea bargain. If necessary, offer him immunity from any use of the phone data to enhance his punishment and the self-incrimination issue disappears. Either way, they could have had the data they claim they need for further investigation weeks ago.

      That, however, assumes that the U.S. Attorney is really more interested in the data on this particular phone than in establishing the precedent that Apple can be forced to provide decryption services under the All Writs Act.

  2. I think we are going to see every sneaky trick that this government has being used in this case.

    I’m starting to get the impression that their laws and constitution is a threat to that government, and you know how that government loves to declare war on threats, and anything else the choose to.

    1. The head of the FBI reports to the Attorney General. Therefore, the Attorney General should “call off the dogs”, so to speak, until Congress can sort this out.

      Or, better yet, the President, to whom the Attorney General reports.

    1. I believe that it was a federal drug case from the beginning, so there are no local or state police or prosecutors involved. Federal officers all the way down.

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