The tests are whether the third party “is not so far removed from the underlying controversy that its assistance could not be permissably compelled,” that the order “does not place an undue burden” on the third party, and that the assistance is “necessary to achieve the purposes of the warrant.” In the February 19 filing, the government argues that Apple fails all three tests and thus should be ordered to comply.
What happens if Apple refuses?
If the February 16 order from Judge Pym stands after Apple’s appeal—the next hearing is scheduled for March 22—the company could elevate it through the courts, eventually all the way up to the Supreme Court.
This case could prompt legislation in Congress too, according to California Senator Dianne Feinstein speaking on PBS NewsHour. Tim Cook and FBI Director James Comey have both been invited to appear before the bipartisan House Energy and Commerce Committee.
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