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Apple files objections to order to unlock iPhone

[JURIST] Apple [corporate website] filed a brief [text, NPR] in the US District Court for the Central District of California [official website] Thursday in opposition of the US government's request for the company to unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter [CNN report], Syed Rizwan Farook. Counsel for Apple called the case "unprecedented." The brief alleges First and Fifth Amendment concerns arising over a court order [text, PDF] issued earlier this month. The order was granted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website], to compel the company to create software that would unlock the device. Apple is arguing for free speech and a right to privacy under the First Amendment. Under the Fifth Amendment violation, Apple claims the order to be "highly burdensome."

The DOJ filed [motion, text] a motion to compel Apple to unlock the encrypted iPhone [JURIST report] earlier this month. The FBI [official website] is seeking Apple's help to access Farook's phone, but the tech company has refused. In a letter [text] to its customers, Apple explained, "We are challenging the FBI's demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications." While the DOJ describes Apple's rhetoric as simply a "marketing strategy," the tech company has been joined by Google [NBC report], one of its largest competitors, in standing against the order. Complicating the situation, a report surfaced [ABC report] earlier this week that the iPhone in question had its iCloud password changed while in government custody. A California federal court has been scheduled to hear the motion on March 22.

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