The judge ruled that an order forcing Apple to unlock the phone would exceed the government’s authority under the law, and that any other interpretation of the law would likely violate the Constitution’s separation of powers.
In the debate over built-in iPhone encryption, law enforcement and the world’s second-largest cellphone-maker agreed on one point Tuesday: It’s now up to Congress to set boundaries over who can legally access digital information in criminal investigations.
The battle between Apple and federal law enforcement has come to symbolise a long struggle between technology companies and the government over privacy and national security.
The remarks were a slight change to Comey’s statement last week that ordering Apple to unlock the phone was “unlikely to be a trailblazer” for setting a precedent for other cases.
Apple doubted that law enforcement, if successful in its order, would stop at the San Bernardino case. Ken Wisnefskiof Internet marketer WebiMax on Apple vs. FBI. For more on this iPhone standoff, CCTV America’s Rachelle Akuffo interviewed Ken Wisnefski, Founder and CEO of Internet marketing firm WebiMax. It also asked the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to reverse its order compelling the company to do so.
FBI Director James Comey and Apple chief lawyer Bruce Sewell are appearing before the House Judiciary Committee for a hearing on the encryption Tuesday afternoon.
“As attacks on our customers’ data become increasingly sophisticated, the tools we use to defend against them must get stronger too”, he said. While Comey argues that only Apple can help it hack into the phone used by San Bernardino Terrorist Syed Farook, he acknowledges that a ruling against Apple could set a precedent for other courts.
Comey said the government has not tried to access the source code for the device confiscated after the San Bernardino shootings.
Apple has since declined to cooperate in a dozen more instances in four states involving government requests to aid criminal probes by retrieving data from individual iPhones.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and tech giant Apple faced off at a congressional hearing on Tuesday over hacking into the encrypted iPhone of a terrorist killer.
Orenstein noted that the government has successfully used the All Writs Act to compel Apple to surrender information from 70 mobile devices to date.
On Monday a Federal magistrate in Brooklyn, New York denied the government access to an iPhone owned by an alleged drug dealer.