NEW YORK – Apple wants a judge to delay 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 Apple’s help.
Apple attorney Marc Zwillinger asked U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie in Brooklyn late Thursday to postpone deadlines until the Department of Justice reports the FBI’s findings to a California judge.
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.
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 shooter who with his wife killed 14 people. Days ago, prosecutors notified the magistrate judge that the FBI may be able 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.
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 U.S. 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.