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IPhone Unlock Issue Not Over

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 mention

Despite 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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