Apple says it may not be needed to unlock New York drug dealer’s iPhone

“Apple Inc. said it may not be needed to help unlock an iPhone connected to a drug case in New York if the government finds a way without its assistance to get into the phone used by the gunman in the December massacre in San Bernardino, California,” Chris Dolmetsch reports for Bloomberg.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation said earlier this month that it was approached by an unidentified third party with a possible way to get into the San Bernardino shooter’s phone,” Dolmetsch reports. “Apple on Thursday asked a U.S. judge to delay a deadline for submissions in the Brooklyn case, saying the government may not need its help accessing the drug dealer’s device if the same method the government is using in California can be used in New York. Judge Margo Brodie on Friday gave the government until March 29 to respond to Apple’s letter.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s position is perfectly logical.

U.S. Magistrate Judge: The U.S. government cannot force Apple to unlock an iPhone in New York drug case – February 29, 2016
Apple wants judge to rule if it can be forced to unlock defendant’s iPhone – February 16, 2016
Government pressure for Apple to bypass encryption reduced as iPhone owner enters guilty plea – October 31, 2015
Judge compares government request for Apple to access users’ iPhone data to execution order – October 27, 2015
U.S. judge expresses doubts over forcing Apple to unlock iPhone – October 26, 2015
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
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


  1. The best scenario is if a third party, unrelated to Apple, had a way to get in. If the solution is to wait 6 months to a year for a hack, at least we hope that Apple would have patched the hole with an update by then.

    With that said, the balance between open hacks and security is a matter of time and keeping up to date.

    My perspective is, if you are willing to do the crime, you should expect to pay the time. For the rest of us, personal privacy and protection from ID theft is a high priority.

    Big brother aside, if national agencies have an eye on you, I don’t think an encrypted phone is going to stop them from picking you up and making your life miserable.

    Let’s take OJ Simpson for example. Not being judgmental, even though he is in jail. Regardless if you believe he committed murder or not, his life is ruined.

  2. This result is even better than anyone could have predicted.

    The fact that a third party service exists to unlock iPhones pulls the rug from under those who tried to argue that Apple must create a back door for the ‘good guys’. If any foreign governments want to pressure Apple to weaken encryption so that they can access people’s data, Apple can refer them to Cellebrite and they can discuss it with them instead.

    The bonus is that it’s an expensive service, so it won’t be used lightly and nearly all iPhones will remain secure.

    The icing on the cake is that the service is provided by a non-American company, which means that it’s available to any nation that the company is happy to deal with and it’s beyond reach of any US laws that could restrict it’s operations.

    However this solution most likely just buys time for Apple and there will be a bigger battle before long. I have no doubt that the FBI will be on the lookout for the perfect case where this solution is not applicable and then will restart the whole process again.

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