The US Justice Department is looking to file a court order to force Apple to help the FBI unlock an iPhone that was obtained as part of a New York drug dealing case, it has been reported on 9 April. The move follows a recent attempt in March to force the tech giant to crack an iPhone used by a terrorist in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino, California.
The San Bernardino order was reportedly dropped the US government said the FBI had unlocked the phone without the Apple's help.
According to Sky News the dealer implicated in the latest case, Jun Feng, has since pleaded guilty and is due to be sentenced. The FBI is seeking to use the All Writs Act to force all companies to allow access to information held on their products or run through their services.
In a letter filed in a New York federal court, the Justice Department said: "The government continues to require Apple's assistance in accessing the data that it is authorised to search by warrant." Apple has said that they will take the new case to the Supreme Court.
The FBI claimed it was The All Writs Act that entitled it to attempt to force Apple to allow access to the phone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook in March, and wants to use in the future whenever technology moves ahead of current law.
On 7 April, the FBI began revealing how it accessed data in the San Bernardino killer's iPhone 5S to US senators. According to a report by the National Journal, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr are currently believed to be working on introducing a new bill that proposes to reduce and limit the use of encryption in technological consumer products and services. The bill is slated to be made public soon, although President Obama has indicated it does not have the support of the White House.
Both Feinstein and Burr are said to believe that Apple should not be told how the FBI accessed the San Bernardino killer's iPhone. Feinstein told the National Journal: "I don't believe the government has any obligation to Apple. No company or individual is above the law, and I'm dismayed that anyone would refuse to help the government in a major terrorism investigation."
Given Apple's victory against the FBI on its recent encryption battle, as well as the tech community's unanimous support for Apple, it is highly likely that the new bill will only add fuel to the raging fire on this particular debate.
A Reuters report indicated that the White House will not be supporting the new bill. The FBI, however, recently offered to extend support to other local and state law enforcement agencies in helping them unlock iPhones.
Meanwhile, other tech firms are hitting back by tightening encryption-related services. Facebook's WhatsApp service recently rolled out end-to-end encryption services, assuring its users that their privacy was priority. Following its victory against the FBI, Apple too promised its customers that it would continue to protect and enhance user privacy by making encryption a priority.