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Justice Department appeals ruling in Apple’s favor

Justice Department appeals ruling in Apple’s favor

The US Justice Department appealed a federal judge’s ruling in New York stating that Apple could not be forced to unlock an iPhone, linked to an investigation over a drug case in the city. 

Probably, these days millions of people are more familiarized with another Apple case, which denied to help the US government to access a locked iPhone belonging to a San Bernardino murderer who killed several people.

Even if the New York case is separate from this famous case that remains ongoing in California, the two definitely have something in common. We are talking about the All Writs Act from 1789 that can be applied to situations involving encrypted data stored on personal devices, in this case an iPhone.

However, James Orenstein, Magistrate Judge in Brooklyn, declared that the All Writs Act could not be used as the basis for a court order demanding a private company to help authorities access somebody’s encrypted data. To be added that this act is also 100 years old and the FBI is trying to use it to order Apple to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone.

An interesting difference between the New York and the San Bernardino case is that Apple could unlock the New York iPhone, because it is an older smartphone model, an iPhone 5s, which was running the iOS 7 software. This operating system doesn’t come with the same security setup as iOS 8, which the company isn’t able to circumvent.

The Justice Department was very upset when it found out about the ruling in the New York case and came out with a new statement, declaring: "In light of the debate that has recently come to surround this issue, it is worth briefly noting what this case is not about. Apple is not being asked to do anything it does not currently have the capability to do. Apple may perform the passcode-bypass in its own lab, using its own technicians, just as it always has, without revealing to the government how it did so.

Therefore, granting the application will not affect the technological security of any Apple iPhone nor hand the government a ‘master key’."

After Justice Department’s statement, Apple came with a response, saying:

“Judge Orenstein ruled the FBI’s request would ‘thoroughly undermine fundamental principles of the Constitution’ and we agree.

We share the Judge’s concern that misuse of the All Writs Act would start us down a slippery slope that threatens everyone’s safety and privacy.”

However, we must add that California and New York’s cases are different in several ways. While the New York case centers on a person who pleaded guilty to intending to distribute drugs to other people, the San Bernardino case implicates a man who committed a terrorist attack, killing 14 people and injuring 22 other.

The locked smartphones also differ, because the San Bernardino phone is running the newest iOS 9 version, while the New York case includes the iPhone 5S, which is running the iOS 7, an older version. To be added that smartphones running the newer operating systems are designed to keep Apple from bypassing the passcode to access the device’s data.
Justice Department appeals ruling in Apple’s favor Reviewed by Anette Keyne on 3/10/2016 04:22:00 PM Rating: 5

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