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  • Federal Judge Seeks to Fuel a Debate about Data Encryption


    Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of the US District Court of New York appears to be asking Apple to comment on whether a government order to unlock a customer’s iPhone would be considered “unduly burdensome.” The court has mentioned that it will not make a decision on the unlock request until Apple has offered input, which is required by October 15th. Both Apple and the government will be able to present arguments on October 22th if either party decides to.

    Orenstein is reportedly a supporter of limits on government surveillance. Previously he rejected a government argument which relied on a Supreme Court case from 1977 with the New York Telephone Company. He claimed that although NYTC was a public utility, Apple is a purely private firm which is “free to choose to promote its customers’ interest in privacy over the competing interest of law enforcement.” This was originally the same case used by Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein of the Southern District of New York to back another iPhone unlock request.

    When it comes to this particular issue, one of the problems for the pro-privacy stances of Apple and Orenstein may actually be the phone used in the current case. Law enforcement officials who chose to remain anonymous mentioned that the device runs an older version of iOS that Apple can in fact unlock, unlike iOS 8 or 9. The Cupertino California company claims that the full-disk encryption on these particular operating systems is so tough it can’t provide a key even on demand.

    Orenstein’s ruling came a day after the public learned that the Obama administration won’t pursue regulations that mandate backdoors in encryption communications. The administration instead is continue to pressure corporations regarding the matter, where talks have allegedly become “increasingly productive” according to them.

    We’ll have to wait and see what comes of the whole ordeal by being patient.

    Source: The Washington Post
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Federal Judge Seeks to Fuel a Debate about Data Encryption started by Akshay Masand View original post