Apple Is Pressed By The Department Of Justice Again, This Time To Unlock iPhone Of A Drug Dealer

If you thought that all the mess regarding Apple, FBI, and the pressure from the Department Of Justice to unlock iPhones of potential criminals is finished, think again. After FBI tried to make them build a decryption program that will allow FBI to break the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter, Apple is at the center of legal battle again as the Department of Justice wants Apple to cooperate and unlock the iPhone belonging to a drug dealer in Brooklyn.

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Although FBI succeeded in their attempt of unlocking the shooter’s iPhone, without the help of Apple, they haven’t revealed the exact way they did that. And it seems that FBI is untouchable because although they developed a way to unlock iPhones, Justice Department hasn’t called them for assistance. Instead, they again asked (or better to say pushed) Apple in a try to force them to cooperate in a new case where iPhone sequestered from a meth drug dealer could contain information that could lead to him being convicted.

There are a couple of things that just don’t stick, that show how the government is slowly transforming from its main purpose of serving its citizens onto something more menacing, a body that tries to force cooperation from them. The first inconsistency is that Justice Department is using the All Writs Act that authorizes federal courts in U.S to “issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law”. But, this act is not valid unless there’s an alternative legal remedy. And because the iPhone, in this case, is a 5s model, running iOS 7 which can be unlocked with a box in just a few minutes, it’s evident that “alternative legal remedy” is clearly present. Furthermore, Justice Department pledged Apple for a “one-time favor” and now, they want help from Apple again, even though they can go online, buy the mentioned box and unlock the iPhone in minutes; maybe they don’t have a couple of hundred dollars to pay for it(sarcasm)?

This all seems crazy, especially because the Brooklyn case is already solved, and data stored on dealer’s iPhone is no longer needed for the case. And the best thing is that, even though FBI developed a way of unlocking phones that run iOS 9, they haven’t told Apple any details about how they managed to do that. So, they are behaving like a bunch of criminals, not sharing potentially important security flaws that allowed them to break iOS 9, complete the opposite of what should they represent. An agency that’s protecting their people, and assisting in creating more secure OS that will be harder to steal data from is something they should do. All in all, it’s clear that when Apple refused to partake in the attempts to unlock San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, they became sort of an “enemy of the government” and it will be interesting to see if the Department Of Justice will call another “one-time favor” the next time they discover locked iPhone belonging to some other suspect.

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