Apple ordered to help unlock iPhone in Boston case, court records show

According to newly unsealed court documents, a U.S. Magistrate Judge ordered Apple in February to help law enforcement access data on a locked iPhone at the center of a Boston gang case. As reported by the Boston Herald, Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler ordered Apple to provide the FBI with "reasonable technical assistance" in securing the data:

"Such reasonable technical assistance consists of, to the extent possible, extracting data from the Device, copying the data from the Device onto an external hard drive or other storage medium, and returning the aforementioned storage medium to law enforcement, and/or providing the FBI with the suspect Personal Identification Number," Bowler wrote.

News of the February order comes in the wake of the FBI's now-abandoned attempt to compel Apple's assistance in securing data on an iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. While the FBI ultimately halted its efforts in that case after acquiring a still-unknown method of unlocking some iPhones from a third party, the Bureau is now moving forward in a similar case in New York.

Interestingly, while the specific iPhone model at the center of the Boston case isn't mentioned, the Boston Herald notes that the identification number in the warrant indicates it may be an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. The FBI has previously indicated that the method it used to crack the San Bernardino iPhone will not work with the iPhone 5s or later.

FBI vs. Apple