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Friday 9 December 2016

Apple asks judge to delay iPhone data case

Published 25/03/2016 | 20:41

Investigators want information from a phone used by a gunman who, with his wife, killed 14 people last year
Investigators want information from a phone used by a gunman who, with his wife, killed 14 people last year

Apple wants a judge to delay US government demands for data from a locked iPhone in a Brooklyn drug case while the FBI sees if it can get contents from a San Bernardino attacker's phone without the company's help.

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Apple lawyer Marc Zwillinger asked a US district judge late to postpone deadlines until the Department of Justice reports the FBI's findings to a California judge.

The government is scheduled to update a California magistrate judge on April 5 about its efforts to access iPhones without the company's assistance.

Investigators want information from a phone used by a gunman who with his wife killed 14 people last year. Days ago, prosecutors notified the magistrate judge that the FBI may be able to break into phones without Apple's help but needed more time to be sure.

Apple's opposition to helping the government get phone data in the California attack and Brooklyn case has prompted a national debate over digital privacy rights and national security.

Mr Zwillinger said the Brooklyn case will be affected by the outcome in California regardless of what the Justice Department concludes regarding its methods of obtaining data without Apple's help.

He said if the same method can be used to unlock the iPhone in the Brooklyn case, Apple's assistance will no longer be needed. He added that Apple will seek to test any claims by the government that the method cannot work on the iPhone in Brooklyn or claims that other methods cannot be used.

Mr Zwillinger suggested that Apple's March 31 deadline to submit papers in the Brooklyn case be delayed until both sides propose a new briefing schedule in the Brooklyn matter by April 11.

Prosecutors in New York are challenging a US magistrate judge's February ruling in Brooklyn that found the government was stretching a 1789 law to get "impermissibly absurd results" by trying to force Apple to divulge the content of iPhones.

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