Apple, Inc. had a big win in New York on Monday when a judge denied the request of the U.S. government to open the iPhone of the suspect in a drug case.
The New York Times reports that Magistrate Judge James Orenstein denied the U.S. government’s request for Apple to provide backdoor access to an iPhone that was used by Jun Feng, the suspect in an ongoing drug trafficking case in New York. This, however, goes against Apple’s firm stance in user privacy.
Judge Orenstein wrote: “After reviewing the facts in the record and the parties’ arguments, I conclude that none of those factors justifies imposing on Apple the obligation to assist the government’s investigation against its will, I therefore deny the motion.”
The All Writs Act that was used by the U.S. government in the case is the same law it is using against Apple concerning the terror attack in San Bernardino, California. In this latter case, the magistrate judge in California ordered Apple to cooperate and help the FBI to create a new software to serve as a backdoor within the iPhone that federal investigators can use to apprehend potential suspects. This forced Apple CEO Tim Cook to publicly defy the order set by the judge.
Cook wrote: “The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.”
This is a very complex dilemma for both Apple and the U.S. government, since the implications could spread and have an effect on a global scale. In Apple’s case, this goes against user privacy and the concern of outside hackers that can hit iPhone users internationally.
On the U.S. government’s side, the backdoor software is needed to swiftly apprehend and capture criminals and terrorists before they strike.
“We have no sympathy for terrorists,” Cook wrote, providing a clear sign on where the company stands on the issue.