DOJ, Apple iPhone encryption battle continues in drug investigation

The Department of Justice is seeking a court order to require Apple to unlock an iPhone involved in a New York drug investigation, reports The Wall Street Journal.

In a court filing filed Friday, federal prosecutors wrote the government needs Apple's help to access data the government is authorized to search by warrant, according to the report.

The government's court filing comes two weeks after the FBI successfully unlocked the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino gunmen without Apple's help. For nearly six weeks, the government and the tech company went head-to-head over Apple's encryption. Apple maintained a promise of security to its customers, and the government invoked the All Writs Act, which permits it to issue any legal order deemed necessary or appropriate to help an investigation.

The FBI was able to access the gunman's iPhone with the help of a third party, but is reportedly unable to use the same technique on the phone in the drug investigation because it is a different model. The gunman's iPhone is a 5c, while the drug dealer's is a 5s, according to the report.

The drug investigation now at the center of the debate began in 2008. The phone in question belonged to a suspect who pled guilty to drug charges in 2015. In this case, Magistrate Judge James Orenstein said the U.S. does not have the authority to require Apple to unlock the iPhone. Federal prosecutors are now seeking a court order from U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie to force Apple to help.

More articles on encryption:

Google also ordered to help government unlock phones
Petya ransomware ups encryption game
Cybersecurity in the presidential race: Where the remaining candidates stand

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