Apple Submits Formal Objection Against Court Order In iPhone Unlocking Case

Apple today has officially filed a formal objection to the court order that effectively tried to force the company into assisting the FBI with unlocking an iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple’s General Counsel, Bruce Sewell, had previously filed a statement prior to the congressional hearing yesterday that outlined the reasons why the company believes the original court order should never have been granted.

Yesterday’s congressional hearing had already resulted in a follow-up hearing date being set for March 22, a meeting that has been scheduled to take place in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Although that follow-up date and meeting has already been arranged, a failure on Apple’s part to submit an official objection to the ruling could have potentially resulted in the company being deemed to have waived its right to appeal to judgement, meaning that the appeal may have been canceled.


The two-page document, which is notably shorter than the 65-page motion Apple previously filed asking the court to vacate the order, has been submitted “in an abundance of caution”:

In an abundance of caution, to the extent Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 59, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, and/or Local Civil Rule 72-2.1 are applicable in this case, Apple Inc. (“Apple”), by and through its counsel of record, hereby formally objects to the Court’s February 16, 2016 Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search (ED No. 15-451M, Dkt. 19) for the reasons set forth in Apple’s Motion to Vacate Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search, and Opposition to Government’s Motion to Compel Assistance (ED No. CM 16-10-SP, Dkt. 16).


The case involving Apple and governmental law enforcement agencies has already been through a number of twists and turns in its relatively short life cycle. Tim Cook has also used an ABC interview with David Muir to stress his belief that the production of such a backdoor for the iPhone and iPad would be the “software equivalent of cancer“. It’s likely that there’s a lot more to come from this before we finally reach a conclusion, but at least for now Apple has guaranteed that the March 22 hearing will continue.

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