On Tuesday, a New York federal judge told Apple that he is not happy with the company’s response regarding whether a law originally written in 1789 applies in a 21st century context. Put another way, can the American legal system compel Apple to hand the government the keys to unlock an iPhone?
In its filing one day earlier, Apple lawyers told a federal judge in New York that it is “impossible” for the company to help unlock an iOS 8 iPhone in a hypothetical criminal case. In this case, however, Apple noted that the phone in question is running iOS 7 (just 10 percent of current iOS devices are running that OS), which changes the calculus a bit.
“As a general matter, however, certain user-generated active files on an iOS device that are contained in Apple’s native apps can be extracted,” Ken Dreifach, an attorney representing Apple, wrote in the company’s seven-page filing. “Apple cannot, however, extract e-mail, calendar entries, or any third-party app data.”