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New York Judge Sides With Apple In Another Legal Faceoff With The Government


A magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court in New York has handed Apple a legal victory in a Brooklyn drug case where federal investigators asked for help getting into a locked iPhone.

Though the ruling isn’t precedent-setting or binding on other courts, it hits on a similar overarching theme of government access to encrypted data, as TheWashington Post reports:

“The two cases involve different versions of iPhone’s operating system and vastly different requests for technical help, but they both turn on whether a law from 1789 known as the All Writs Act can be applied to cases in which the government cannot get at encrypted data stored on suspects’ devices.”

NPR’s Joel Rose previously outlined the premise of this Brooklyn case, which predated the legal clash over an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters:

“Jun Feng pleaded guilty to selling methamphetamine last year. As part of its investigation, the government obtained a search warrant for Feng’s iPhone. But the phone was locked by a passcode, so prosecutors asked a judge for an order compelling Apple to bypass it.”

That order was based on the same law as the San Bernardino court order compelling Apple’s help in unlocking the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook before the Dec. 2 attack, in which he and his wife killed 14 people.


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