Recent news shed light on how the Trump-era Department of Justice purposefully gathered personal phone records of numerous journalists from the Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN.
This fiasco happened to quiet down some of their sources, which is part of the administration's goal to suss down leakers.
However, the issue did not end there.
Back in 2017 and 2018, the Department of Justice's grand jury left Apple Inc., a Cupertino-based tech giant responsible for the iPhones, iPads, and other gadgets, with no choice but to hand over private data of two Democrats.
According to The New York Times, a report confirmed that the Department of Justice compelled Apple to hand over metadata on personal accounts of two Democrats from the House Intelligence Committee. This incident happened in 2017 and 2018 in preparation for former president Trump's campaign.
Gizmodo stated that the subpoena was also able to cover even the records of at least 12 people connected to the committee members. These include family members, aides, and one minor individual.
Among those records that were seized involved the personal data of Representative Adam Schiff of California.
According to sources of the New York Times, he is a committee chairman and, not to mention, a frequent victim of Trump's rowdy insults.
Apple's Attempt to Minimize Data Breaches
Despite DOJ's pressure on Apple, the tech giant did its best to minimize the provided data.
According to the news outfit, Apple only gave metadata and account information, excluding emails, photos, and other private content.
However, it is hardly comforting considering how easy it is to learn a lot of information about someone simply based on their metadata. Information such as their location, plans, and preferences are all accessible, especially that most of the people involved were individuals with public information, and social media accounts.
The Current Situation
U.S. prosecutors still found no evidence on the retrieved data that specifically tied DOJ members to the leakers with the information on hand. And according to New York Times, Apple was understandably under a direct order from the DOJ, which stopped the company from dispensing information to the public regarding the matter.
DOJ's direct order expired in 2021, so Apple started to contact the committee members who allegedly had no idea that the Trump administration investigated them.
Gizmodo also declared that CNN, New York Times, and The Post did not know that some reporters were under federal investigation.
DOJ and Schiff's Response
According to NBC News, at the height of the issue, Schiff asked the Inspector General to investigate Trump's "weaponization of law enforcement," which he later labeled as a terrible abuse of power.
Schiff added that the incident makes the DOJ a subsidiary of Trump's personal and political interests.
In light of the situation, the U.S. Department of Justice promised that they would stop secretly seizing private records of Journalists. Lawmakers, media outlets, and even President Joe Biden condemned the department's disclosure.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Fran Sanders