As Apple continues to fight a court order asking it to unlock the iPhone of one the San Bernardino gunmen, the company is also involved in a similar case in New York. Last week, a New York judge ruled that the government couldn’t force Apple to unlock a device, but now, Reuters reports that the Department of Justice is fighting the ruling and is again citing the All Writs Act as reasoning.
The Justice Department has today resubmitted its case to a higher judge in the Eastern District of New York. In the filing, the government argues that the case regarding the San Bernardino gunman is evidence that the All Writs Act can be used to force a company to unlock a device.
“Meanwhile, in the Central District Court of California on February 16, 2016, the government obtained an All Writs Act order requiring Apple to assist law enforcement in accessing the phone of one of the shooters involved in the mass murders in San Bernardino, California,” lawyers for the Justice Department said in the filing.
This is an interesting move by the Justice Department, seeing that Apple instantly spoke out against the court order in California citing the All Writs Act. The logic here is that since the California judge cited the 1789 law as apt reasoning for forcing Apple to unlock the device, the New York judge should do the same. The difference between the cases is that in the New York case, the FBI is still petitioning the court to issue an order to force Apple to unlock the device, while in California, the judge has already done that and Apple is now fighting the order.
In New York, the iPhone in question was used by a man involved in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy, who has already pleaded guilty to the charges. The government, however, wants to use his iPhone to find other conspirators.
The New York case will now be heard by District Court Judge Margot Brodie. A magistrate judge made the original ruling.