Federal prosecutors forcefully responded to Apple’s court filing in a New York drug case this week, saying that the company should help the government extract data from a seized iOS 7 iPhone pursuant to a warrant just as it has in the past. Officials from the Department of Justice have now asked a judge to compel Apple to assist the government in unlocking the phone in question, an iPhone 5S.
As Robert Capers, a United States Attorney based in Brooklyn, wrote:
Absent Apple’s assistance, the government cannot access that evidence without risking its destruction. But Apple can. Indeed, Apple has repeatedly assisted law enforcement officers in federal criminal cases by extracting data from passcode-locked iPhones pursuant to court orders. Apple has acknowledged that it has the technical capability to do so again in this case.
Capers went on to say Apple’s arguments about “tarnishing the Apple brand” after complying with federal law enforcement are “without basis as a matter of law,” and he noted Apple’s objection this time seems novel. “The government is not aware of any prior instance in which Apple objected to such an order,” he concluded.