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Apple is still refusing to unlock iPhone 5s in New York drugs case

The U.S. government is still calling for the company's help in unlocking an iPhone 5s handset involved in the case, but Apple is continuing to refuse
April 16, 2016

Apple's battle concerning the controversial San Bernardino iPhone 5c handset might be over, but the company is continuing to oppose the government's request to unlock an iPhone 5s involved in a New York drug case.

In a new filing (via The Wall Street Journal), Apple is continuing to refuse assistance to the Department of Justice (DoJ) concerning the case. Once more, Apple is claiming that the government has not clearly pursued all other possible avenues when it comes to gaining access to the data required, and the company has asked the judge involved to dismiss the government's lawsuit against Apple.

“The government has utterly failed to demonstrate that the requested order is necessary to effectuate the search warrant, including that it exhausted all other avenues for recovering the information it seeks,” Apple argued in the new filing to U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie. “Before the government demands that Apple do the work of law enforcement, the government must offer evidence that it has performed an 'exhaustive search' and that it remains unable to obtain the data it seeks without Apple's assistance.”

Apple even made reference to the San Bernardino case, in which the FBI eventually managed to unlock the iPhone handset in question through utilizing the assistance of so-called “pro hackers.” Apple's argument, that the government might indeed be able to access the iPhone in the New York case without its help, is fair. That being said, the method used to access the iPhone 5c has been confirmed as not being compatible with later handsets, like the iPhone 5s, 6, or 6s.

At the same time, a draft bill could remove Apple's choice from matters such as this one in years to come if a pair of U.S. senators have their way. While it has been hailed as being “absurd” and technologically ignorant, the proposed legislation has been published as a draft, and it would force companies like Apple into bowing to judges' commands to decrypt data required in cases.

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For now, Apple is holding out. Of course, we'll keep you posted with further information as we receive it.