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NY Judge Sides With Apple: Feds Can’t Force Apple To Unlock An IPhone

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THEME:   LIFE STYLE, NATION, WORLD

By Dan Bart | February 29, 2016 9:44 pm

A US magistrate judge in New York has ruled that the government can’t force Apple to help law enforcement unlock an iPhone using the All Writs Act. This case in question is about drug trafficking and is not related to the San Bernardino shooter case.

Magistrate Judge James Orenstein states: “More specifically, the established rules for interpreting a statute’s text constrain me to reject the government’s interpretation that the AWA empowers a court to grant any relief not outright prohibited by law.”

The judge’s ruling in the New York case rested on another Apple-friendly premise: the notion that what the government wants “is unavailable because Congress has considered legislation that would achieve the same result but has not adopted it.”

A US magistrate judge in New York has ruled that the government can't force Apple to help law enforcement unlock an iPhone using the All Writs Act

A US magistrate judge in New York has ruled that the government can’t force Apple to help law enforcement unlock an iPhone using the All Writs Act

Judge Orenstein ruled that this is an issue that should be handled by Congress. If the government wants to use All Writs or CALEA to force companies to circumvent encryption, there needs to a clear law granting it that power.

On top of this, Apple senior executive claimed that Apple has never created or signed any piece of software to decrypt their phone.

Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell said the public should understand that “encryption is a good thing, a necessary thing” even if it makes the work of law enforcement more difficult.

Sewell stressed that Apple has been stepping up its encryption over the past few years.

“As attacks on our customers’ data become increasingly sophisticated, the tools we use to defend against them must get stronger too,” he said.

“Weakening encryption will only hurt consumers and other well-meaning users who rely on companies like Apple to protect their personal information.”

Encryption helps preserve privacy around the world, he added, “and it keeps people safe.”

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