Apple is pushing back against the federal government’s demands to unlock another iPhone, this time related to a drug case in Brooklyn.
In a new filing posted on Friday, the iPhone-maker has asked a New York judge to dismiss the federal government’s appeal against Apple, claiming the DoJ has not proved that it has exhausted all resources to unlock the iPhone in question.
“The government has utterly failed to demonstrate that the requested order is necessary to effectuate the search warrant, including that it exhausted all other avenues for recovering the information it seeks,’’ Apple argued in the new filing to U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
Apple and the FBI waged a public legal battle over whether the government can compel tech companies to weaken their security for law enforcement. The FBI eventually dropped its case against Apple after it hired tech security firm Cellubrite to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5c. The hack used by the FBI in that case only works on a narrow slice of iPhones, however, Apple says the feds haven’t demonstrated that it won’t work on the Brooklyn iPhone.
“Before the government demands that Apple do the work of law enforcement, the government must offer evidence that it has performed an ‘exhaustive search’ and that it remains unable to obtain the data it seeks without Apple’s assistance,” Apple’s lawyers write in the filing.
In its letter of appeal, the DoJ argues that Apple has assisted prosecutors to unlock over 70 iPhones, so they should do it again this time because they already can.
Federal prosecutors are still trying to use the All Writs Act to force Apple to unlock iPhones, however, NY magistrate judge James Orenstein rejected the government’s interpretation of the 227 year-old law, saying it does not empower a court to grant any relief not outright prohibited by law.