The iPhone 5c involved in the San Bernardino case isn’t the only one the Justice Department wants Apple to open. There are another dozen or so iPhones in undisclosed cases around the country involved in legal disputes similar to the case that has been making headlines since last week, according to people familiar with the matter speaking with the Wall Street Journal.
These are just the cases in which prosecutors have sought to use the much-debated All Writs Act (legislation dating from the eighteenth century) to force Apple to help them bypass the passcode security feature, as it may hold evidence that could be used in the case. The cases don’t involve terrorism, the people said.
More recently, an iPhone was seized in a drug investigation in New York. In that case, prosecutors filed a letter with U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein late on Monday indicating there were other cases in which the government had obtained court orders similar to that obtained by the FBI, but the letter doesn’t detail any. What it does say, though, is that Apple has complied with the orders.
What makes the San Bernardino case different is that this time the FBI has asked Apple to develop software which would weaken iOS security so the law enforcement agencies can extract the data from the iPhone.
Apple says it will challenge the order because the FBI went too far this time, and that if a backdoor is created, it could be used countless times.