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The battle between the US Justice Department and Apple over the unlocking of iPhones isn’t over – not by a long chalk, nor any other longish object you’d care to mentionDespite claiming to have unlocked the iPhone belonging
to a terror suspect at the centre of the original case, US authorities
including the FBI are maintaining they have a legal right to force companies to
unlock all mobile devices.

The FBI has revealed the unlocking method they used won’t work on newer iPhone
models. They are now seeking a court order to force Apple to help unlock
another iPhone seized during a New York drug investigation.

Apple says it will press the federal prosecutors to explain exactly why they
can’t crack the iPhone on their own and wants the names of any companies helping
with the effort – one is generally believed to be Israeli-based Cellebrite
(CDN, April 1).

The US Justice Department is hoping the court will cement its authority to
compel companies including Apple to assist in investigations by opening devices
or decrypting data. Apple, Google and others claim that could become be an
abhorrent breach of user privacy.

Both sides are preparing for the issue to eventually reach the US Supreme Court
in what might well become one of the landmark decisions of this century.

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