DOJ Seeks Orders to Force Apple to Unlock 12 More iPhones as FBI Claims It's Not Trying to Set Precedent

DOJ Seeks Orders to Force Apple to Unlock 12 More iPhones as FBI Claims It's Not Trying to Set Precedent

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The U.S. Justice Department is pursuing court orders to force Apple to assist investigators in extracting data from another 12 iPhones, reports the WSJ. The news comes as the FBI claims its demand that Apple hack the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone will not set a precedence.

The other phones are evidence in cases where prosecutors have sought, as in the San Bernardino, Calif., terror case, to use an 18th-century law called the All Writs Act to compel the company to help them bypass the passcode security feature of phones that may hold evidence, according to a letter from Apple which was unsealed in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday.

The letter from an Apple lawyer to a federal judge lists the locations of the other phones: Four in Illinois, three in New York, two in California, two in Ohio, and one in Massachusetts.

Despite FBI Director James Comey's claim that "the San Bernardino litigation isn’t about trying to set a precedent or send any kind of message, it's quite clear that the agency chose this specific situation to battle over because it would garner the highest possible public support and set a precedence for future cases. It's considered by many to have been a smart first move.

“They’ll come up with a reason why for every single phone,” said Chris Finan, a former White House security adviser who, while in government, said he opposed this tactic. But as a strategic matter, he said, “It’s tactically brilliant.”

New York City's police commissioner, William J. Bratton, and the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., both voiced their criticism of Apple saying that they currently possess 175 iPhones that they can not unlock. When asked if he would want access to the those phones should the FBI prevail in the San Bernardino case, Vance said: “Absolutely right.”

Apple has hired Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. and Theodore B. Olson, partners at Gibson Dunn, as outside counsel to help it defend the security of its devices and its users data.

If you're just learning about the situation you can find more details in Apple's FAQ. Please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.

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DOJ Seeks Orders to Force Apple to Unlock 12 More iPhones as FBI Claims It's Not Trying to Set Precedent
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Tjp - February 26, 2016 at 12:22am
The big problem is they are asking for something Apple doesn't have. It clearly cannot require a company provide an as of yet non existent tool, at the companies expense. Apple could set a precedent that due to the expenses involved, creating a one off iOS version, limited by court order to a single phone, that they should be compensated for their efforts, including loss of critical staff on the main iOS releases, loss of market share as schedules slip, and compensation for testing including recreating the target device so as not to overly endanger the target device. And ask for exemption from liability if the government effort fails. Since the government appointed lawyer in the iBooks case pulled over 1000 an hour and Apple will need additional council to oversee compliance with the court order, that's likely over a a couple million dollars they should charge the government for performance of this court order. And that likely will discourage others from pursuing this avenue. Asking for a general purpose tool is not viable as it would be exposed to misuse and the government is not requesting it, by their own requests. This will require skilled engineers, testers, and the enveloping management structure for the tools development, as well as legal council overseeing the effort.
Great - February 26, 2016 at 12:04am
If the Govt wins, then the next step is for all to provide backdoors. That means banks, hospitals, all hand phone os makers, everyone! That is the end of encryption!
clown - February 25, 2016 at 3:04am
Why you think they required new cars to have black boxes. When someone gets in accidents they, plug in device and download your speed, stops etc. They don't require your approval to take the device from the car, and they use your own car against you. Similar to onstar, . You can request the data, but you never get it even though you bought the car,
garybizzle - February 24, 2016 at 5:40pm
Resist Tim Cook! Resist!
FucI< the usa government
FucI< the usa government - February 24, 2016 at 5:48am
Fuc|< the USA government. I really hope Apple doesn't give in to it.
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