NY judge scolds US in its fight with Apple over iPhone data

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — A New York jurist is scolding the government for efforts to shame Apple for refusing to surrender information from customers' iPhones.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein said Monday that the government is stretching a 1789 law to get "impermissibly absurd results."

His Brooklyn ruling in a drug case came just before a Tuesday congressional hearing. FBI Director James Comey and Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell are expected to testify on encryption and "balancing Americans' security and privacy."

Orenstein noted his decision was not controlling but could still have "precedential value" in a dozen cases nationwide facing the same legal question.

One case concerns Apple's fight against a California judge's order to create specialized software to help the FBI hack into an iPhone linked to San Bernardino attacks investigation.