Apple Supporters Claim Momentum in Fight Over Unlocking iPhones

March 1, 2016 – In The News
The Hill

Scott L. Vernick was quoted in The Hill article, “Apple Supporters Claim Momentum in Fight Over Unlocking iPhones.” Full text can be found in the March 1, 2016, issue, but a synopsis is below.

“Apple: 1. Government: 0,” said Scott L. Vernick, a noted privacy attorney.

On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein denied the federal government’s request for a court order to compel Apple to help unlock an iPhone belonging to a drug dealer.

The ruling sets an important, if nonbinding, precedent that could impact how a California judge rules in the case involving the San Bernardino shooter, according to attorneys.

In New York, the government wanted to unlock the device, which was running on an older operating system that Apple said it was technically able to unlock, but only would under court order.

In the California case, the FBI asked Apple to write software that would override the operating system and allow the FBI to hack into the device. With the newer operating system on the device, the phone cannot be unlocked without new software being created by Apple.

“If one judge found something less intrusive to be impermissible, then it would stand to reason that some other judge would find something that is more intrusive to be impermissible,” Vernick said.

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This story was also featured in The Hill article, “Overnight Cybersecurity: FBI, Apple Face Congress.”