Apple’s help to government in 2008 Watertown molestation case may have set precedent in current privacy debate

pAs Apple fights a request from the federal government to unlock an encrypted iPhone used by a San Bernardino gunman, the company’s help in a 2008 child molestation case in Watertown may have set precedent./ppApple gave assistance to state police and other officials looking into an early iPhone model as they prosecuted Christopher I. and Amanda D. Jansen for abusing multiple children, according to court records viewed by the Times./ppAmong the help the company offered was drafting language for the federal government to use in its request for court approval, which it filed on Dec. 15, 2008. The filing said that the All Writs Act, passed in 1789, could be used to get Apple’s help in the matter./ppTechnical experts a href=””interviewed by Fox Business/a, which first noted the Watertown link, said there is some debate on the boundaries of what the act can allow a court to order./ppAfter court approval, law enforcement agents traveled to Apple headquarters with the suspect’s phone, and the company’s employees “bypassed the phone’s passcode and extracted data from it immediately.” The filing did not state what information was accessed./ppThe Jansen pair pleaded guilty to several offenses in federal court, and were sentenced in 2010 to life in prison without possibility of parole./ppThe 2008 Watertown case was referenced in October by the federal government as it pressed Apple to help them access an iPhone as part of a drug investigation in Brooklyn./ppAn email sent to Apple on Friday asking about the Watertown case was not returned./ppThe tech giant’s current fight revolves around access to the phone of Syed Rizwan Farook, who killed 14 people and injured 22 others in California./ppEarlier this week, a U.S. magistrate ordered Apple to help investigators break into the phone. Apple has until next Tuesday to challenge that ruling. CEO Tim Cook decried the order earlier this week, saying it would degrade iPhone security and make users more vulnerable to spies and cyber thieves./ppIn a new motion Friday, federal prosecutors say the company has chosen to repudiate a judge’s order instead of following it./ppThe department also says Apple designs its products to allow technology “rather than the law” to control access to critical data./ppProsecutors also make clear that Apple would be allowed to retain possession of the phone and technology./ppLeadership from companies such as Google and Twitter have publicly backed Apple in its fight. Many law enforcement agencies have voiced concerns the encryption on Apple phones is making it harder for them to pursue criminals./pp class=”mwc_blurb-editors_note”emTimes staff writer Brian Kelly and the Associated Press contributed to this report./em/p
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News

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