Department of Justice uses New York case to cite All Writs Act towards iPhone unlocking case

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Date: Tuesday, March 8th, 2016, 07:35
Category: iPhone, Legal, News, security


The legal soap opera continues.

As Apple remains embroiled in the San Bernadino iPhone unlocking controversy, a New York judge ruled last week that the government couldn’t force Apple to unlock a device. Now, apparently, the Department of Justice is fighting the ruling and is again citing the All Writs Act as reasoning.

The Justice Department has today resubmitted its case to a higher judge in the Eastern District of New York. In the filing, the government argues that the case regarding the San Bernardino gunman is evidence that the All Writs Act can be used to force a company to unlock a device.

“Meanwhile, in the Central District Court of California on February 16, 2016, the government obtained an All Writs Act order requiring Apple to assist law enforcement in accessing the phone of one of the shooters involved in the mass murders in San Bernardino, California,” lawyers for the Justice Department said in the filing.

The move works to give the All Writs Act more justification in the Apple case. Since the California judge cited the 1789 law as apt reasoning for forcing Apple to unlock the device, the New York judge could do the same. The difference between the cases is that in the New York case, the FBI is still petitioning the court to issue an order to force Apple to unlock the device, while in California, the judge has already done that and Apple is now fighting the order.

In the New York case, the iPhone in question was used by a defendant involved in a methamphetamine ring who had already plead guilty to the charges against him.

The New York case will now be heard by District Court Judge Margot Brodie.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via 9to5Mac and Reuters

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