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US government still pursuing court order to unlock iPhone in New York case

The Justice Department told a federal judge Friday that it would continue to pursue a court order to unlock a seized  iPhone at the center of a New York drug probe.

The move comes weeks after the government withdrew a similar request in an unrelated terror investigation in the Southern California county of San Bernardino. Authorities abandoned their San Bernardino intentions after the feds informed the magistrate presiding over the case that the FBI no longer needed Apple's assistance in unlocking the 5C model because it had done so with the help of an "outside" party. However, it became increasingly clear two days ago that authorities would likely forge ahead with this bid in the New York case after James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said the workaround purchased in the San Bernardino case was exclusive to the 5C and not other models like the 5S involved in this New York drug probe.

"The government’s application is not moot, and the government continues to require Apple’s assistance in accessing the data that it is authorized to search by warrant," the Justice Department wrote (PDF) in a letter to the federal judge presiding over the case.

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