On Friday in a court filing, Apple claimed the FBI has utterly failed to prove necessity in a case for assistance to extract data from a locked iPhone that relates to a drug case in New York.
Citing the related San Bernadino case that was recently withdrawn by the Justice Department after an outside party provided a means to extract data from an iPhone 5c, Apple lawyers say the FBI is using the Booklyn case as a means to set a wider precedent according to the Mercury News.
The Cupertino company is trying to dismiss the government’s All Writs Act motion to compel assistance.
“The government’s failure to substantiate the need for Apple’s assistance, alone, provides more than sufficient grounds to deny the government’s application”, the filing reads.
Cited as evidence is the outcome in the San Bernadino case, that ordered Apple to comply with FBI demands to help unlock an iPhone involved in the attack. The motion was withdrawn at the last minute by prosecutors after a third party provided a way to bypass the lock mechanism. In that case prosecutors tried to compel Apple using the All Writs Act, which gives judges authority to issue orders if other means are exhausted.
Making things more complicated for the D.O.J. is a ruling back in March from Magistrate Judge James Orenstein who said the Brooklyn motion lacked legal authority to force Apple to break its own security protocols.
In an appeal heard by District Court Judge Margo Brodie, the Justice Department earlier this month said it would continue to seek Apple’s assistance even though it has a working exploit. Federal prosecutors claim investigators require help to access data authorised by a search warrant, saying the hardware and software difference between the San Bernadino iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s in the Brooklyn case.
The DOJ says the Brooklyn phone runs iOS 7 which means that Apple can’t extract any data without creating a new software exploit. The San Bernadino iPhone 5c however, even though technically inferior to the iPhone 5s, was running iOS 9. Apple added end-to-end encryption to iOS 8, a security measure the firm says it can’t even break.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.