1,000 Locked Devices in Limbo After FBI Quits iPhone Case

March 29, 2016 – In The News
USA Today

Scott L. Vernick was quoted in the USA Today article, “1,000 Locked Devices in Limbo After FBI Quits iPhone Case.” Full text can be found in the March 29, 2016, issue, but a synopsis is below.

The FBI announced on Monday that it was able to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone without the help of Apple and did not need to move forward with its case against the company.

It is unknown what the Department of Justice’s abandoned legal action now means for other law enforcement agencies looking to unlock encrypted devices, but some officials expect the number of cases where law enforcement agencies seek to force Apple to unlock devices to increase.

According to attorneys, the actions of the government have weakened its credibility should it attempt to argue for compelling companies to assist in future cases.

The Department of Justice spent a month saying Apple’s assistance was the only way it could get into the phone, and then suddenly it wasn’t, said Scott L. Vernick, a noted privacy attorney.

“Now any other court is going to ask, ‘Really? Are you sure you need their help? That’s what you asked for last time and apparently you didn’t,’” said Vernick.

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