DOJ: Apple’s help is no longer needed in unlocking iPhone in NY drug case

DOJ: Apple’s help is no longer needed in unlocking iPhone in NY drug case

According to a BuzzFeed News report, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a letter with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Friday, seeking the withdrawal of the motion to compel tech giant Apple to unlock an iPhone linked to an ongoing drug case in New York.

The iPhone which the authorities wanted Apple to unlock was an iPhone 5s handset used by Jun Feng, who is being tried for drug trafficking in Brooklyn.

In the letter, prosecutors said that the government authorities no longer require technical help from Apple in unlocking Feng's iPhone. Prosecutors further explained that the passcode of the iPhone was provided to the authorities by an unidentified individual on Thursday.

The letter also revealed that the passcode was used by the government to unlock the iPhone late Thursday; and the code successfully enabled investigators to gain access to the data on the handset.

About DoJ move to withdraw the appeal seeking Apple's help in unlocking Feng's iPhone, Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce said that law enforcement officials have managed to get access to the data they wanted. Pierce further added that the case was not about setting a precedent, but about law enforcement's "ability and need to access evidence on devices pursuant to lawful court orders and search warrants."

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