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Judge: Apple Not Required to Unlock iPhone in Drug Case

Apple logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Apple is not required to help the FBI open a locked iPhone belonging to a suspected drug dealer, a federal judge in New York has ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein said the FBI does not have the authority to force Apple to open the phone after Congress rejected a bill that would have compelled companies to open up their technology, NBC News reports. 

“The relief the government seeks is unavailable because Congress has considered legislation that would achieve the same result but has not adopted it,” the judge said.

“It is also clear that the government has made the considered decision that it is better off securing such crypto-legislative authority from the courts, rather than taking the chance that open legislative debate might produce a result less to its liking.”

The case has no legal bearing on a California judge’s ruling that Apple must unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.

Orenstein wrote that lawmakers should debate the balance between privacy and the government’s investigative authority.

“The debate must happen today, and it must take place among legislators who are equipped to consider the technological and cultural realities of a world their predecessors could not begin to conceive,” the judge wrote in the 50-page decision.


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