Apple: iPhone Hacking Is Proof That FBI Never Needed Apple’s Help In The First Place
In a document filed in a federal court case in New York, Apple expressed some harsh words for the Justice Department. The iPhone maker argued that the mere fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was able to unlock an iPhone device without any assistance whatsoever from Apple is evidence that the feds did not need any help in the first place. The tech giant also pointed out the United States government total failure in satisfying its burden to show that Apple’s help in the investigation was required at all.
These words from Apple were thrown to counter the appeal submitted by the FBI for an order issued by US Magistrate Judge James Orenstein filed in late February early this year. Judge Orenstein’s 50 page order had exonerated the iPhone maker from any legal obligation to provide help to the US government regarding its investigation of an iPhone 5c unit owned by a terrorist involved in the San Bernardino attacks last December. The judge also stated that the All Writs Act (an 18th century law now being cited by authorities to force tech firms to unlock encrypted mobile devices) is legally insufficient to be used as basis for the motion, thus denying its validity. A precedent such as this, if propagated and adopted by other courts, would help in hampering the FBI from taking the All Writs Act as basis for unlocking mobile devices, just like what it is doing in more than 60 cases across the United States (as pointed out by ACLU).
Apple took other digs at the authorities, specifically calling out the feds for their failure to display any attempt in utilizing other techniques for gaining access into the terrorist’s iPhone 5c unit. According to the tech giant, the US government never bothered to make a full attempt to retrieve the passcode from the owner of the device, nor get some professional advice from other government agencies and third parties known to the government.
Again, Apple reiterated its desire to provide support for ongoing or future efforts to apprehend criminal elements, but stresses that the US government’s use and interpretation of the All Writs Act is misguided. The company added that it is well aware that the true motivation behind the order is for the government to set a precedent wherein it can force Apple to assist the feds in the future, no matter how burdensome Apple’s involvement may turn out to be.