The U.S. government appears so determined to make Apple play along to its requests that it will be filing a lawsuit against the company, effectively applying pressure on Cupertino to unlock a Brooklyn drug dealer’s iPhone.
Two months ago, Judge Margo Brodie denied the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s request to make Apple hack into the drug dealer’s iPhone. The Justice Department would appeal Brodie’s ruling, though she also asked government agencies if they would change their stand on the matter if the FBI was able to open the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook without the help of Apple.
On Friday, the Justice Department fired back, telling Brodie that it still would require Apple’s assistance in opening the Brooklyn dealer’s iPhone, despite the fact the FBI was able to open Farook’s iPhone 5c without any assistance whatsoever from Apple. That’s because the workaround used by the FBI in hacking into Farook’s device will not work in the Brooklyn case, as the iPhones used by the perpetrators are different models from each other, with two different versions of iOS.
“The government continues to require Apple’s assistance in accessing the data it is authorized to search by warrant,” read a letter from the Justice Department to Brodie. The phone used by the Brooklyn drug dealer is an iPhone 5s running on an older iOS version.
Interestingly, it looks like Apple is more willing to play ball with the Justice Department than it was with the FBI in the Farook case.
“Apple told our folks that they could extract data from the specific phone at issue,” said an unnamed law enforcement official Friday, speaking to NBC News. “One of their lawyers told the judge at a hearing that would take only a matter of hours.”