Judge: Pending final ruling, Apple has not flouted order to help FBI

News by Bradley Barth

US District Court Judge Sheri Pym earlier this week validated Apple's assertion that it has so far not defied her previous court order to assist the FBI in cracking the encryption protecting the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.

Apple won a minor, nearly overlooked victory, in US District Court on Monday when Magistrate Sheri Pym validated the company's assertion that it has so far not defied her previous court order to assist the FBI in cracking the encryption protecting the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. 

“I certainly don't think... that Apple's been flouting the order,” said Judge Pym, according to transcripts publicly posted on Cryptome, contradicting the repeated assertions of US government agencies including the FBI and DoJ. “Pending a final decision... it's not in a stage that it could be enforced at this point.” 

At these proceedings, the US government successfully petitioned Judge Pym to postpone an upcoming evidentiary hearing, after claiming a third-party company emerged with a technique that might access the phone's contents. Apple agreed to the postponement, but asked the judge to vacate her previous order or at least state on the record that the company hasn't skirted her previous ruling.

Judge Pym did not vacate the order, but added, “I would be inclined to just include some language that, in effect, makes clear that at this point the order that was entered is unenforceable and is stayed. I, frankly, think it effectively has been throughout, you know, the course of briefing here.”

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