Apple is fighting the FBI over a court order requiring the tech giant to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone — but it appears the company had no problem breaking into at least 70 other protected smartphones.
The California company unlocked dozens of iPhones at federal investigators’ requests between 2008 and 2015, a prosecutor argued last year.
Apple refused to unlock an iPhone that belonged to an accused New York meth dealer in October, months before CEO Tim Cook cited privacy concerns as he pushed back against a Tuesday court order to help FBI agents hack into a cellphone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.
The October refusal bewildered New York prosecutors, who claimed the iPhone maker “complied” with at least 70 other requests to unlock suspects’ phones,Motherboard reported at the time. Each request was made under the All Writs Act, a 1789 statute that grants federal courts broad power to issue “necessary or appropriate” writs.
“(Apple) had an established procedure to routinely take any of these requests, comply with them, processing them,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Saritha Komatireddy said in court.