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Federal judge rules: Justice Dept. cannot order Apple to unlock iPhone seized in drug bust

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A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, on Monday rejected a U.S. Justice Department request to order Apple Inc to help law enforcement access data on a locked iPhone, in a ruling that bolsters the company’s arguments in a growing privacy fight with the government.

The government sought access to the phone in October, months before a judge in California ordered Apple to give the government access to the phone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, California, attacks.

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U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein in Brooklyn ruled that he did not have the legal authority to order Apple to disable the security of an iPhone seized during a drug investigation.

The Justice Department is “disappointed” in Orenstein’s ruling and plans to ask a higher judge within the same federal district to review the matter in coming days, a department representative said.

Though the defendant in the case has already pleaded guilty, the Justice Department still believes the phone may contain evidence that “will assist us in an active criminal investigation,” the official said.

When fighting the government’s order to help extract data from the iPhone, Apple had argued that being forced to do so “could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand,” according to court records.

Orenstein said his ruling in Apple’s favor was not a decision on “whether the government should be able to force Apple to help it unlock a specific device; it is instead whether the All Writs Act resolves that issue and many others like it yet to come.”

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The implications of the government’s position are “so far-reaching… as to produce impermissibly broad results,” he wrote.

Prosecutors have said that since 2008, Apple has complied with 70 such court orders based on the All Writs Act, a 1789 statute that grants federal courts broad power to issue “necessary or appropriate writs,” without objection.

The case before Brooklyn was, according to prosecutors, the first time Apple had objected to law enforcement efforts to utilize search warrants to get the tech company to provide assistance and unlock iPhones seized during investigations.

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But since October, when Apple first asked Orenstein to deny the government’s request, Apple has objected to helping law enforcement access at least 12 devices for which the U.S. Justice Department has sought its help, according to a letter from Apple to Orenstein that was unsealed earlier this month.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards and Julia Harte in Washington; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker)

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Trump is in a ‘fight-or-flight state’ over coronavirus: ‘Art of the Deal’ co-author

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," Trump biographer and "Art of the Deal" co-author Tony Schwartz laid out the president's state of mind over the coronavirus crisis.

"Let's understand Trump," said Schwartz. "Trump is the chief energy officer of this land. So, in other words, his energy has a disproportionate impact on all our energy. And he already raised the anxiety of people over the last four years considerably. He'll exploit fear if he thinks that serves him, or deny fear if he thinks that serves him."

"That's an important point," said host Ari Melber. "You're arguing, as someone who worked with him, that while we just heard about a public interest approach, you're saying you don't see him using public interest?"

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‘No time for being patronized,’ say youth climate leaders as UK cops warn parents over Fridays for Future protest

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"Young people should not be underestimated—we have a voice and we are strong."

Youth organizers of a Friday climate protest in Bristol, United Kingdom said they have "no time for being patronized" after local police sent a letter to parents warning of inadequate safety measures for the upcoming demonstration, which teenage activist Greta Thunberg and thousands of others are expected to attend.

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Trump spent 45 minutes talking with cast of right-wing play dramatizing ‘Deep State’ conspiracy theories: report

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The coronavirus emergency has given President Donald Trump one of the most daunting tests of his administration, with less than a year to go before he stands for re-election.

And yet in the midst of all the chaos, one thing the president found time to do on Thursday was meet with the cast of a bizarre right-wing play dramatizing the supposed "deep state" plot at the FBI to frame Trump in the Russia investigation.

According to The Daily Beast, Trump spent 45 minutes talking with the people behind "FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers," which focuses on the affair between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The leading roles of Strzok and Page were played by Dean Cain, the former Superman actor, and Kristy Swanson, who played the starring role in the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.

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