US government wants Apple to unlock iPhone in drugs case

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Apple is embroiled in yet another argument with the US government over whether the technology giant should unlock an iPhone, this time with regards to a drugs case.

A Brooklyn judge, James Orenstein, ruled in February that Apple cannot be forced to unlock the iPhone of Jun Feng, who has pleaded guilty to taking part in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy. The phone is locked, and the government wants to be able to find any co-conspirators in the drugs case by using his phone.

However, the US authorities have appealed against Judge Orenstein’s decision, and as a result it is going to a higher court.

This situation is very similar to the recent case concerning the unlocking of an iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino gunman. However, the iPhone in this case is an older version, using iOS 7 software, and therefore different encryption technology has been used.

Apple released a statement saying: “Judge Orenstein ruled the FBI’s request would ‘thoroughly undermine fundamental principles of the Constitution’, and we agree. We share the Judge’s concern that misuse of the All Writs Act would start us down a slippery slope that threatens everyone’s safety and privacy.”

Just like in the San Bernardino case, Apple is worried that agreeing to unlock the phone could set a dangerous precedent, and is viewed as an abuse of the AWA.