Here we go again: US government wants to force Apple to unlock another iPhone

New case, new coast, same company

Apple is being asked to crack yet another phone

The saga between Apple and the FBI centered around the iPhone used by San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook may have cooled down, but the gauntlet continues for the Cupertino tech company.

The Department of Justice said in a letter today that it will continue to pursue a court order seeking to force Apple to unlock an iPhone owned by an accused drug dealer in Brooklyn, New York.

"...the government continues to require Apple's assistance in accessing the data that it is authorized to search by warrant," the very brief letter read. In non-legalese, the government doesn't intend to drop its pursuit of a court order, meaning we're likely in the early stages of Apple vs FBI, Round 2.

It's important to note this is an entirely separate case from the one that Apple and the FBI were ensnared in over the San Bernardino iPhone. The order against Apple in that case was dropped after the feds successfully accessed data on the device using a tool from a mysterious third party.

Despite the government's success using the outside source to crack Farook's iPhone 5C, the model of the Brooklyn phone - an iPhone 5S - apparently can't be breached the same way.

FBI Director James Comey said earlier this week that the FBI's tool would probably be ineffective on newer model iPhones.

Why this iPhone?

Authorities believe the data on the Brooklyn iPhone is critical in an ongoing investigation of a methamphetamine cabal, according to BuzzFeed News. The feds are seeking for a previous ruling in Apple's favor to be overturned.

The magistrate judge in the New York case had ruled the All Writs Act, a US legal provision nearly as old at the country itself, was applied too broadly in regards to forcing Apple to make software to bypass its own security measures.

A different judge will now make the call as to whether to issue the court order. Apple attorneys said they plan to fight the feds' request. They'll ask for an explanation as to why Apple - and only Apple - is able to comply with the order, given the government's success accessing the San Bernardino phone without the company's assistance.

Apple's counsel also noted that the pursuit of an order is further proof the government wants to set a precedent so it can force the company to assist it in unlocking devices, of which there are many others waiting in line.

Apple will present a formal response on April 14, with the government having until April 22 to respond. You can bet that techradar will be there to bring you details as they develop, so get your popcorn ready.

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