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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Court filing: unlocking phone for DOJ would 'tarnish the Apple brand'

Court filing: unlocking phone for DOJ would 'tarnish the Apple brand'
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MacNN Staff
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Oct 20, 2015, 04:34 PM
Apple has filed its brief with the US legal system, reiterating that it cannot decrypt all of its phones on demand, but still has the "technical ability" to unlock older phones. However, the device in question, one of the estimated 10 percent of devices on an operating system older than iOS 8 can be unlocked by Apple, and the company will do so if has been given clear legal authority to do so -- but would rather the judge not request the company do so.

The judge, so far, is refuting rulings from the '70s that have been applied by judges recently, and are now being used by the US government to compel Apple to unlock the phone. In his statement, Orenstein stated that Apple is free from what is required of a "highly-regulated public utility," and as a private firm can "choose to promote its customers' interest in privacy over the competing interest of law enforcement."

In September 2014, Apple said that encryption on devices with iOS 8 or above could only be unlocked by the owner of the device, and the company would no longer store encryption keys. This case appears to be about a device on iOS 7 or older, but which model hasn't been made public.

Apple told Judge James Orenstein in the filing today that "forcing Apple to extract data in this case, absent clear legal authority to do so, could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand." Arguments on the issue are scheduled for Friday.

It is unknown why the Department of Justice is requesting that Apple unlock the device, but lacks the legal authority to order the unlock. There has been no comment from the New York attorney's office regarding Apple's filing as of yet.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Oct 20, 2015 at 10:16 PM. )
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Oct 20, 2015, 08:37 PM
Who is "Brooklyn", and why would his (?) attorney comment on this filing? The story source link goes to a MacNN story from a week ago, before Apple made this filing. That story also doesn't mention any Brooklyns.

From context, Brooklyn might be the defendant. With a proper source link for the story, I could check that for sure.
Mike Wuerthele
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Oct 20, 2015, 10:14 PM
Brooklyn is a place. New York.
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Oct 21, 2015, 10:05 AM
Yes, but Apple is failing to provide security for users in other ways: 1. Email encryption still isn't built-in, easy-to-use, and almost automatic. 2. In OS X 10.11, multi-pass disk erasing has been removed. It appears that Apple is less concerned about providing users with security and simply wants what security breaches that do exist to not require its direct involvement. Not impressive. Not impressive at all.
Author of Untangling Tolkien and Chesterton on War and Peace
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Oct 21, 2015, 10:58 AM
Email encryption would be nice, but right now I'd settle for a version of SpamSieve on IOS...
Charles Martin
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Oct 21, 2015, 12:16 PM
Email stored in iCloud = encrypted
Email stored locally on an iOS device = encrypted
Email encrypted end-to-end = not possible by Apple alone, as every other email service must also support that.
Charles Martin
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